Can Maslow Increase Employee Productivity?
In 1943, Abraham Maslow created a whole new model that would allow employers to increase employee productivity by understanding the needs of the employee. Though A Theory of Motivation was not only for employers, the details of the Hierarchy of Needs described within it would do more to increase employee productivity than endless positive motivation would. The Hierarchy of Needs lists the basic human needs in a scaffolding pyramid with the understanding that the lowest level of needs must be met before any other needs can, each level building upon itself until self-actualization is reached. Effective leadership is the tool by which these needs are understood and met.
Combine Effective Leadership with the Hierarchy of Needs
A leader who leads by intimidation is not a leader, but a dictator who will only realize minimal results that are really only efforts to avoid punishment of some form. Starting with the lowest level, which requires physiological needs are met, the effective leader can increase employee productivity simply by ensuring that things like water and sufficient breaks are available. Since the next level is ‘safety’, employees who are bullied by leaders will not strive to reach self-actualization.
The level of ‘belonging’ can be managed by effective leadership through encouraging camaraderie between employees and self, while still maintaining a position of authority. For example, each person might be delegated a task they are each responsible for while the individual tasks come together to form a whole.
The level of ‘self-esteem’ can be promoted to increase employee productivity through extrinsic and intrinsic rewards in the form of certificates of accomplishment, verbal encouragement, and other rewards, all of which are a part of effective leadership. Finally, ‘self-actualization’ can be reached and will naturally result in an increase in employee productivity as the employee is willing to do more critical thinking, problem solving, and creative maneuvers.
In short, the employee who is able to reach self-actualization will be the employee who can clearly see the creative solutions to long standing problems and enjoy the value of their work.