Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Good Will Hunting

“𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮 𝗺𝗮𝗻 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗯𝗲, 𝗵𝗲 𝗺𝘂𝘀𝘁 𝗯𝗲. 𝗦𝗲𝗹𝗳-𝗔𝗰𝘁𝘂𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘇𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗿𝗲𝗳𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗺𝗮𝗻’𝘀 𝗱𝗲𝘀𝗶𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗳 𝗳𝘂𝗹𝗳𝗶𝗹𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁; 𝗮 𝘁𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗻𝗰𝘆 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗵𝗶𝗺 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗮𝗰𝘁𝘂𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆, 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗵𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗽𝗼𝘁𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆.” – says Maslow 

He identified eight personality factors or layers/levels in people that make them self-actualizers.

I find the following three particularly important in today’s corporate world.

𝗗𝗿𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝗯𝘆 𝗽𝘂𝗿𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗲 – need to do something larger than life and beyond fulfilling material needs

𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗸 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲𝘀 – always seek a `high’ by challenging self to do something extra-ordinary

𝗦𝗲𝗲𝗸 𝗮𝘂𝘁𝗼𝗻𝗼𝗺𝘆 – they were all self-driven, self-motivated, self-regulated; not externally dependent, and operated without much aid

In today’s challenging times we need leaders who show these traits. Its not easy to find them. Our competency frameworks are inadequate to search. 

But even if we manage to find them, it is ever more difficult to nurture them given organization’s obsession with predictability and the tangibles.

Here’s what we can do to nurture such talented people:

𝗚𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺 𝗮𝗻 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 (𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗴) 𝗴𝗼𝗮𝗹

One of my people strategies was to throw a challenge in the air. Those who lap them up are your peakers. 

If leaders could find causes that inspire people to dedicate their lives to, they will be able to unfold their true potential. Excellence, solving a complex problem, path breaking research or innovation, winning the pride back, scaling the highest peak, business turn around could be some such causes. 

Some peakers could be quite directionless initially but good leaders do well by identifying them and giving them direction.

𝗚𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗳𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗱𝗼𝗺 

Reaching actualization requires a lot of space. Space to take risks, to experiment, make mistakes, to ideate, or do nothing (peakers do that a lot). Give them a goal, define boundaries if any and give them the latitude. Peakers don’t report on hourly, daily or weekly basis. 

𝗟𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗲𝘀

While technical support is easy to come by, it is the emotional support that is the real catalyst. Boosting morale while the chips are down, encouraging when experiments fail, listening and understanding them are absolutely essential. Peak performers are responsive to emotional stimulus and are often driven by impulses. 

Remember the Good Will Hunting?

Source: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and movie Good Will Hunting


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