3 Apply Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a Project Manager

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In your lifetime, you would have heard of what Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need is. The theory basically talks about the human needs where an individual has to meet their needs from the lower-level needs, before they try to meet the higher-level needs.

It is known that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs also has the implication of the working environment needs related to project management. Basically, a project manager can really apply Maslow’s theory to their project activities for meeting the project requirements. Then, how is Maslow’s theory of need applied in project management?

Let’s identify the implication of Maslow’s theory to project management in our post below!

How Does Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Apply to Project Management?

Before starting to identify how Maslow’s hierarchy of needs apply to project management, we should know the three concepts that should be defined. The project management team’s needs are focused on the following concepts:

  1. Project Management includes the application of skills, tools, knowledge and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.
  2. Project Management Team is about the members of the project team who are involved directly in project management activities.
  3. Project Manager is about the person who is assigned by the performing organization to lead the team which is responsible to achieve the project objectives.

In Project Management, Maslow actually wrote his theory for individual needs and the teams consist of many individuals working cooperatively. As a project manager, she or he should their needs to motivate the team.

Project managers have to know that ‘A satisfied need is not a motivator’, meaning when the project manager satisfied one of the team needs, she or he cannot motivate the team with the same need. For instance, an extra salary increase may not reveal extra motivation when the team members gain enough salary for their expectancy.

In Project Management, the project team will be evaluated as an individual. The project team in the project management aims to achieve the project on time, on budget with success.

Starting from the bottom, here’s how the Maslow’s theory of needs applies to project management:

3 Apply Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as a Project Manager

  1. Physiological Needs

For a Project Manager, physiological conditions are truly essential. She or He must think about their team’s physiological needs. Moreover, she or he must also ask themselves related questions like ‘Are the team members coming to work after breakfast, are they sleeping enough or is the office cleaned and ventilated?’.

Well, the physiological conditions of the office are very important where the office should provide some facilities that team members can eat, drink or rest. It’s also important that team members need to sleep enough before working.

In other words, the following basic needs is for anyone who is part of a project:

  1. Let the team know their salaries
  2. The aim of the project as a whole
  3. Desired outcomes of the project

After those basic needs have been communicated, the person who is part of the project will feel like that their basic needs have been met, they have purposes, they have money and they know an endpoint (outcome).

  1. Safety Needs

In addition to physiological needs, safety needs actually appear for the team. They can easily contact and communicate with the project manager in order to feel secure in the working environment. However, it’s important to know the team member’s psychology.

It’s normal when some people can experience difficulties in their life and others may not be efficient. In this case, a project manager should ensure that every team member is paid regularly and feels safe in the work environment, once the team is selected with people who are already satisfied with their safety needs.

According to some sources, there are three main needs what a project manager can do:

  1. To ensure every member has the correct capabilities and tools to complete the project.
  2. To create an environment where people will feel confident in challenging themselves and others.
  3. To set realistic expectations from the start. Make sure to not give them the mindset that things will not be done on-time.

After those are done, people will know they have the resources and an environment where they feel safe in completing the project.

  1. Social Needs

Human actually needs to be part of a group, meaning as a project manager, he or she should be collaborating with others. According to medium.com, there are three basic things in Social Needs that should be considered, here they are:

  1. Scheduling regular check-ins, whether it is daily, weekly or yearly.
  2. Scheduling meetings to celebrate project milestones.
  3. Making sure to get physical interaction in-person meetings.

If all things are done, a project manager has totally created an environment in which people will feel confident when completing their work.

  1. Esteem Needs

As a project manager, they seek to be competent and efficient, so they can obtain respect and prestige from their team members. In project management, it’s important to show respect and appreciate their project members’ successes.

There are two ways to appreciate their project members:

  1. Make sure to recognize their contributions to the project by giving them a shoutout on Slack, going up to them and saying well done.
  2. Giving people a purpose and letting them know how their contributions impact on the entire project. So, it will be easy to forget how their personal work impacts the bigger picture at times.
  1. Self-Actualization Needs

In Maslow’s theory, Self-Actualization is the highest part that may be hard to achieve. In project management, this is where a good leader becomes a great leader by continuously improving their team member’s creativity and curiosity.

However, humans have a natural tendency to learn and grow. Here, project managers should give them the freedom to pursue their career. In fact, each person will have different purposes in their own life. Here, project managers should find their team members in their life devoted project.

There are two ways to consider, including:

  1. Consider each team member’s professional goals when assigning responsibilities
  2. Empower team members, so they will have the ability to develop and grow.

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