Maslow's Pyramid: Understand the Hierarchy of Human Needs

Maslow's Pyramid: Understand the Hierarchy of Human Needs
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A Maslow's Pyramid is widely used in the human resource Management and sales, to understand the needs of employees and customers, respectively, before strategizing. At human needs are: physiological, security, social, esteem and self-realization.

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Who was Abraham Maslow?

Maslow's Pyramid: Understand the Hierarchy of Human Needs - Abraham Harold MaslowAbraham Harold Maslow (1908-1970) was an American psychologist, a descendant of Russians and Jews, born in Brooklyn. He studied law at the City College of New York (CCNY), but fell in love with psychology, University of Wisconsin. Subsequently he did master's, doctorate and became a reference in the field of humanistic psychology.

Maslow studied several currents of psychology like psychoanalysis, Gestalt and the humanist. But his most famous theory is that of hierarchy of human needs, widely used in people management and client management. Abraham Maslow died in California, United States, on June 08 1970, a victim of a heart attack.

The Maslow Theory

According to Maslow, human beings have different needs that overlap one another. Thus, when we meet a group of needs, our motivation is redirected to the next group.

Throughout his studies, Maslow hierarchies of human needs through a pyramid. In this, the most basic needs, related to life, are at the base of the pyramid. While the more abstract needs, related to the spirit are at the top of the pyramid.

We will speak more thoroughly of each need group, but rather, it is important to understand the logic and fundamentals of Maslow's pyramid. The message that it passes, fundamentally, is that to motivate people a leader needs to first understand what group of needs they currently have.

It is no use trying to direct people's motivation to abstract needs if they still have unsatisfied basic needs.

Steps of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

To better illustrate Maslow's pyramid, let us now speak of its stages, that is, the steps of the evolution of human needs. You can also see these steps in our Maslow's Pyramid Spreadsheet in Excel.

Maslow's Pyramid: Understand the Hierarchy of Human Needs

1) Physiological Needs

In the hierarchy of needs, the physiological ones are the most basic, because they are linked to our survival. When a human does not have his physiological needs your motivation will be completely focused on this group. According to Maslow, they are: breathing, staying alive, eating, drinking, resting, having sex.

In professional life, such needs would be mainly related to schedules that allow rest and food and not overload.

2) Security Needs

From the moment that a human being has his physiological needs met, he will focus his motivation on his security needs. They involve the sense of protection from danger. They can be illustrated by physical security, health, housing, relative stability in employment and relationships, among other factors.

In the professional scope, we can think of preventive measures against insalubrity, living wage, some guarantee of continuity (or at least transparency as to the situation), health plan, etc.

3) Social Needs

The human being also possesses social needs, just above security needs. Here we begin to enter into a more abstract scope of human needs. They are about maintaining harmonious human relationships, such as family, friends, being part of groups and relationships.

In the professional aspect, people want to be part of the team in a deeper way. In addition to being able to maintain kinder relations with bosses and co-workers.

4) Need for Estimation

As need for esteem, above social needs, are linked to the self-recognition of our abilities, as well as the recognition of others. They are linked to the need of the human being to be respected, admired and prestigious, generating a sense of dignity.

In the professional scope, we can highlight responsibility for results, constructive feedbacks and recognition and prestige for positive achievements.

5) Self-Realization Needs

Finally on the scale of human needs, according to Maslow, are the needs for self-realization. It would be the needs linked to growth and the achievement of their own goals: overcoming challenges, independence, realization of dreams and self-control.

In professional life, these needs are linked to career growth, promotions, autonomy in challenges, own projects and greater participation in decision making.

Importance and Uses of the Maslow Pyramid

As I mentioned earlier, Maslow's pyramid has its widespread use in business management. Two areas draw heavily on Maslow's theory in everyday life: human resource management and sales and commercial management.

Use of the Maslow Pyramid in People Management

A manager does not need to decorate Maslow's pyramid to use it in managing people. Just know the rationale behind its use: understand the needs of your employees before you get motivated and propose awards.

I have often heard "my team is unmotivated" and this occurs regardless of the promise of a fat bonus at the end of the year for the achievement of results. The manager needs to understand that each employee is an individual and every individual has different needs.

Achievement of goals is a need for self-realization, and it is no use getting a motivation about it if the individual has some other unfulfilled need. There are times when a collaborator has some more basic unfulfilled need in the professional scope. The leader must act upon it.

There is no way to charge an employee's motivation for self-realization if he is struggling for survival.

Even in cases where the need is strictly personal, managers can show empathy and try to help in some way. The employee will reward the company at another time.

To find out the needs of the individuals in the team, make performance evaluation and find out what is affecting productivity. Use a Maslow Pyramid Worksheet in Excel.

Use of the Maslow Pyramid in Customer Management

The use of the Maslow pyramid in the commercial area is closely related to companies in a complex sales. In this scheme, the commercial cycle is larger. Some sales take months to complete. It is a system of multiple approvals, that is, the buyer will need approvals from managers, from the financial and sometimes from external influences.

It is up to a large negotiator to develop the capacity to interpret the needs of purchasing influences to act on them.

Maslow's pyramid is also widely used in the psychological aspect of marketing. When trying to find out the real motivations of certain groups for the purchase, before developing the marketing plan.

A quick example, a person who is buying a perfume wants to satisfy their need for esteem or relationship? Two completely different advertisements may come out of this response. (I.e.

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