One of the most impactful practices you can engage in when motivating your staff to reach their full potential is taking the time to understand how to meet different types of needs. When you know the needs of the people in your organization, you can ensure you are moving them in the right direction and helping them reach their full potential. Why does this matter? Because it keeps them motivated to do their best work, and Maslow’s Hierarchy is a perfect place to begin this process. 

Meeting Basic Needs

It is impossible to move forward with those you work with until you provide for all of their basic needs. These basic, foundational needs are both biological and psychological–food, shelter, and clean water. Often, in western civilization, we can take for granted that everyone has these basic needs met, but that could quite easily not be the case. If you are in an organization that employs low-level staff on minimum wage, it is essential to keep these basic needs in mind. 

With the cost of rent skyrocketing, and a shortage of affordable housing, most of what they make could be going into rent alone. When this happens, it can make it almost impossible to put food on the table and keep consistent housing. If you have staff dealing with these issues, then they are living continually in survival mode. 

Living in a constant state of survival means being able to function in a calm, confident way is exceptionally challenging. People in this state will almost always struggle to put everything they need into work because they are at the bottom of the hierarchy–continually worried about the bare necessities of life.

The Importance of Safety

The need for safety in the workplace can never be overstated, evidenced by Maslow placing it as the second-highest need in the hierarchy. When we talk about safety, it is important to understand that this means more than just being physically safe–we also must consider if we are providing a place of physical and mental safety. Although all three safety components have always been important, it is of particular importance in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic. 

With the prolonged pressures and constant change created by COVID, we see an increase in mental health and emotional issues. Knowing the heightened need for emotional safety, we must ensure that our workplaces not only provide physically safe spaces but spaces that are emotionally safe, as well. 

Workplace violence on the rise can also cause people to feel unsafe at work; knowing that these tragedies can make people feel unsettled and fearful, it is imperative to create a physically safe environment for all of your staff. Just remember, safe environments are created intentionally, and they are established by how the community communicates, interacts, and relates to other people.

The Power of Love and Belonging

Never underestimate the power of feeling the bond of belonging to a group. Yes, love is part of this, but in a work environment, we are really talking about creating an atmosphere of appreciation and making your employees feel like they are part of a team. When this is missing in an organization, it is easily identifiable because it comes out in victimizing and blaming behaviors that spew anger. When the need for love and belonging are met, then the task of retaining talent becomes much more likely–and in our current work environment, this cannot be taken for granted. You live and die by keeping great people, which is much more likely when they feel like a valuable member of your team. Keep this need in mind as you work in a hybrid model; it is critical to create an atmosphere of belonging for your remote workers as well. 

Building Esteem 

The need to feel good about the work you do, feel appreciated, and recognized for your efforts is a need in the hierarchy that must not be overlooked. When you build a culture of gratitude and recognition, it creates a sense of confidence in your staff that is vital to the success of your organization. One way to accomplish this is to make sure you are rewarding what is done right instead of constantly pointing out what needs to be changed. By encouraging good behavior versus punishing undesirable behavior, you are putting positive energy into motion that changes the dynamics of your organization. Participating in team-building activities that allow others to share good things about each other can instantly transform your organization into a positive place where people feel good about themselves and want to be part of your team.

Living Up To Your Potential

Self-actualization is at the top of the hierarchy, and it is where you live up to your potential. Although it is common to hear others talk about living up to potential as a goal, most of the time, people find excuses to keep from actually getting to this place. As a leader, it is crucial to make sure you are constantly looking for high potential and sharing this insight with your team members. Often, you may recognize potential in them that they have not recognized, and you are the person that can encourage them to go after these goals. The leader is also pivotal because you can help guide them in the steps they need to take to get where they want to be. So, if you want them to go from one point to another, then your role is to give them more information, education, or training in that area. When you do this, they begin to see an obtainable picture of what they are striving to do or where they want to go. This helps them form that actualized vision in their head and shifts their mindset–and we know from mindset that you can’t achieve something unless you have a clear path of how to get there.

If motivating your staff to reach their full potential is something you would like to know more about, please reach out to me, The Growth Architect, and I’d be happy to have a conversation with you! If you liked this article, check out my video on motivating your staff-Let’s grow!


Beate Chelette is The Growth Architect & Founder of The Women’s Code, a training company specialized in providing companies an ROI on Balanced Leadership. She has been named one of 50 must-follow women entrepreneurs by the Huffington Post. A first-generation immigrant who found herself $135,000 in debt as a single parent, she bootstrapped her passion for photography into a highly successful global business and eventually sold it to Bill Gates in a multimillion-dollar deal.

Beate works with business leaders and supports organizations by developing and providing training the training, tools, and expertise to create and maintain a balanced, equal, and inclusive work environment that fosters creativity, employee engagement, and corporate growth.

Recent clients include Merck, Women’s Legislative Caucus of California, Cal State University Dominguez Hills, Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), NFTE, CreativeLive, the Association of Corporate Growth, and TracyLocke.

Beate is the author of the #1 International Amazon Bestseller “Happy Woman Happy World – How to Go From Overwhelmed to Awesome” a book that corporate trainer and best-selling author Brian Tracy calls “a handbook for every woman who wants health, success and a fulfilling career.

To book Beate to speak or train please connect here. Your Time Is Valuable!

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