I always remember when studying management, the differing views between Abraham Maslow and Frederick Herzberg. On one hand Maslow talks about the hierarchy of needs and on the other Herzberg discusses motivation factors and those factors that he considers to be hygiene (or short lived).
It’s amazing how these theories stay within your mind and how during your career that you realise that you are subconsciously utilising them and also the reality of the actual situations that you encounter within the working environment either prove or disprove these theories.
Both theories in my view play a real importance with regards to building teams, managing teams and most importantly, ensuring that the team feels motivated.
With Maslow, his hierarchy of needs, helps us to understand the key elements that every human being requires to ensure a feeling of as he puts it “self actualisation” or in my view self worth. If you apply each of the following element to the work place then these are my thoughts in terms of how they are addressed:
- Physiological – these are the basic human needs such as food, water, shelter and clothing.
- Safety – this is with regards to ensuring that a person feels that their job is safe that they have job security.
- Love and belonging – this is key to a teams success, creating a sense that each members contribution is valuable, thus ensuring that that individual feels part of the team (they belong to the team).
- Esteem – this is the humans desire to be accepted or valued by others. So as a manager and I follow this golden rule – it cost’s nothing to make sure that an individual is thanked for their contribution or simply told that they have produced an excellent piece of work.
Provided that an individuals needs as detailed above are understood and addressed then that person should be able to realise what ever goal within the workplace. Since they will feel supported by you as a manager to attain this goal. This will also contribute to their personal life as well – so if you as a manager are already working to a similar pattern with your teams – then give yourself a pat on the back - well done !!
Herzberg on the other hand works on a “two factor theory,” which focusses on the workplace and how one set of factors affects job satisfaction and another dissatisfaction. These factors splitting in to “motivation factors,” which cover job satisfaction and “hygiene factors,” which contribute to dissatisfaction.
- Motivation factors – challenging work, recognition, job enrichment, job rotation, personal growth
- Hygiene factors – job status, job security, salary, fringe benefits and work conditions
I always work on the basis that in terms of his theory that Motivation factors are the absolute key to getting the most out of individuals or teams. However, you still have to address the hygiene factors, although their contribution to satisfaction are very short lived. Although ignoring them, you do so at your peril. I say short-lived, since being given a different job title or indeed an increase in salary, will only result in that individual feeling an “increased spring in their step,” for maybe a day or two. Whereas if an individual feels challenged through their work and knows that they are supported by you as their manager then that is what keeps them motivated, which then has a knock on effect to their’s and others input in to the overall teams success.
It’s always worth having these theories at the back of your mind, particularly when you may come up against a difficult individual or stakeholder. For me it has always been about taking the time to understand what concerns contribute to an individuals behaviour and utilising these two theories, plus the art of “communication,” usually allows for a successful outcome – although it does rely on that individual being willing to “open up.”