From Self Actualization to Selfies

As a student of Human Behavior at Work and as an Entrepreneur who has to drive his team to greater heights, I felt I had a firm grasp of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

An Aside: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

maslowshierarchy
Source: Wikipedia

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” in Psychological Review. Maslow used the terms “physiological”, “safety”, “belongingness” and “love”, “esteem”, “self-actualization”, and “self-transcendence” to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through.

I was viewing this as an objective reality, something that’s always in absolute terms. If an individual is not motivated at work, then start with the physiological, then move on to safety, and end with self-actualization to get things done. This almost always worked.

My perception of my team was shaped from a point of view of getting things done, focused on the absolute purpose of crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s.

Hold on, almost always … so then, it’s not an absolute is it? Could there be a better way of motivating a team. Objective reality can be funny sometimes.

Let me give a bit more context here, my team is fairly young (age 24 – 28) … so yeah, a team of millenials.

How do you motivate Millenials?

Selfies, the one thing Millenials love
Selfies, the one thing Millennials love

I am pretty certain that enough research has been done on this, including this by Delloite. So is Maslow on the ball with millennials?

Some oft repeat tactics we did was go on team outings to drive belongingness and team spirit. Then started a slew of photos being shared on Facebook … selfies being put on Instagram. Photos where the team were tagging each other, and much to my delight showing positive engagement about the organization.

Hey, the team is already motivated! At present, not so sure if we (as a team) are motivated to work for specific tasks … however one clear output was that we (the team) are motivated to work together. This, was indeed a positive step.

Do I need self-actualization?

I am not sure, what kind of a team would require self-actualization to motivate itself. In my limited span of working, I have yet to meet such a team!

Have any of you experienced such a team?