Back in my college days, I was introduced to Abraham Maslow thanks to Dr. Gast, my Educational Psychology Professor. Maslow studied what motivates human behavior and observed that we are all ‘needs junkies.” Once we have fulfilled one need, we move on to the next one. Our basic need begins with food and water and then moves on to feeling safe, belonging, making a difference, being recognized and finally, leaving a legacy. What does that mean for leaders who want to lead effective teams?

  • Effective leaders know that everyone needs to feel safe and secure. Fear might make those you lead compliant, but it will not drive their performance.
  • Effective leaders realize that negativity will kill team spirit. No one likes to work in an environment that constantly sees the glass ‘half-empty.’
  • Effective leaders create a sense of belonging by showing their team how important and worthwhile their work is.
  • Effective leaders know that recognition is a powerful motivator for teams. Recognition is not money; it is about making sure each individual is valued and recognized for what they contribute to the team.
  • Effective leaders intentionally help their teams have a sense of purpose and also help them feel like they are making a difference.

As leaders, when we understand what motivates human behavior, we will be a part of awesome teams that will impact the world!
What do you do to show that you really care about each member of your team?

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