Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible,” Matthew 19:26 NIV. When we look to others, family, friends, co-workers, leaders or even ourselves for motivation, we may not always find it, and that can be discouraging. For what is impossible with humans, it is not impossible for God.  

In Jason Gordons article, “What are Needs Based Theories of Motivations”, he writes, “Need-based theories explain individual behavior as being motivated by meeting the individual’s needs or wants” (2022). This is the one of the tasks of a leader within an organization to understand the needs of those they lead, and to help meet these needs to increase the motivation of the environment for all employees, by meeting their needs. The types of needs that help motivate individuals would be physiological needs, safety needs, social or the need to belong, esteem needs and self-actualization needs (Gordon, 2022).  

Chip Conley explains in his book, Peak, “Maslow believed that each of us has base needs for sleep, water, and food (physiological), and he suggested we focus in the direction of fulfilling our lowest unmet need at the time. As those needs are partially fulfilled, we move up the pyramid to higher needs for physical safety, affiliation or social connection, and esteem. At the top of the pyramid is self-actualization, a place where people have transient moments called “peak experiences.” (Conley, 2007) 

Not all who studied the theory of needs based on motivation believed it was a structured hierarchy. The researcher Alderfer believed one could be motivated if any of Maslow’s categories were met, in any order (Buchbinder, Shanks, Kite, 53).  

My mom works for a dentist, a new dentist at that, who is just starting her first practice. My mom will come home at the end of the day frustrated by this dentist’s action of trying to “motivate” the receptionist. The dentist will leave sticky notes on the desk as reminders, to call a patient for example. The reception will come out of using the restroom and there will be a new note, with the same reminder. Even though the receptionist has already made multiple attempts at reaching said patient, the dentist will continue to leave notes, multiple in various locations during a small-time frame. The dentist will even go as far as holding up a note while she walks past the window while the receptionist is checking another patient in or out. This type of micromanaging does not lead to any motivation, as it takes away from the employees’ needs. They are not feeling as though they are being treated as competent adults or employees, and some of their basic needs are not being met as feeling the fact of using a restroom is going to cause an issue or their social needs being met of not being able to have the dentist have an actual conversation with them.  

If an employee feels their needs are being met, they will be more motivated to achieve the goals of the organization.     

Buchbinder, S. B., Shanks, N. H., & Kite, B. J. (2019). Introduction to Health Care Management (4th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning. 

Conley. (2007). Peak how great companies get their mojo from Maslow (1st ed.). Jossey-Bass. 

Gordon, Jason. (2022, April). Needs Based Theory of Motivations Explained. The Business Professor. https://thebusinessprofessor.com/en_US/management-leadership-organizational-behavior/needs-based-theories-of-motivationLinks to an external site.  

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