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Understanding one's needs is key to motivation

Posted: 16 Jul 2001 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:quality control? work management?

Managing careers is the same in principle, as managing people. Hundreds of books have been written on particular theories; theory X, theory Y, theory Z and so on. But in truth no one method of management suits all people and no one development structure will suit all careers. Obviously individuals, their careers and their circumstances are all different.

A good manager will vary techniques according to the needs of the person being managed and a good career manager will create a road map based on current circumstances, future objectives and the ways to get from one to the other. All three criteria are in constant flux. A person could, for example, have enjoyed a steady career progression for a number of years and suddenly find that, through a sudden unexpected event such as economic recession, being laid off from work, or the loss of a close relationship, the starting point on the road map is now in a new place.

To determine the starting point for career development, an individual must determine where he or she is, and this has less to do with ambition than needs. Psychological well-being as well as career development depends on recognizing the need, satisfying it and passing to the next level. Renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs explains the levels:

  • Physiological. A team player at this level will be most concerned with a fair wage to pay for food, clothing and a place to live.

  • Safety. A team player at this level will be looking for job security, opportunity for promotion and a safe work environment.

  • Social. Here a team player will seek the friendship of fellow workers and being treated with decency.

  • Esteem. A team player at this level will want respect from fellow workers and the chance to achieve something worthwhile.

  • Self-actualization. A team player at this level will look for the opportunity to learn more and the chance to develop new skills.

Generally careers progress, but any of us can find that we are not where we were yesterday. Good managers will recognize where an individual is in order to provide appropriate motivation and plan accordingly.

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