HOW MANAGERS CAN USE THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HUMAN NEEDS TO IMPROVE PROJECT OUTCOMES (Part 1)
Four years ago, I started studying psychology — mostly, Human Needs Psychology — so I could serve my coaching clients better. In this blog post, I am going to share with you some things I learned about how the psychology of human needs can be used to turn Good Business Projects into Great Business Projects. I trust you are open to ideas that can help you improve your project outcomes.
Although the roots of psychology go back to the Ancient Greeks, it is a relatively new science. Many of you will know Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Did you know that it was published in 1943! Only 70 years ago! And that Maslow continued studying, researching and writing right up until his death in June 1970?
Over the past 10 years, there have been many more amazing advances in human needs psychology. Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Albert Schweitzer, said, “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” So, I ask you, how many people in future years will express gratitude for you having found their spark and lit their flame?
“Find the Spark, Fan the Flame. “
There are many strategies in Human Needs Psychology. I like to use a technique I call “Find the Spark, Fan the Flame” – finding a person’s inner strength, that hidden part of them that can solve their problems – all of them. As a manager, you might say of your people that it is not your responsibility to solve their problems. All they have to do is their job. Well, here’s something really great — by helping them solve their problems, they solve your problem for you! They work better.
“Find the Spark, Fan the Flame” is not an automatic process. It requires knowledge of Needs Psychology and someone who will take the time to understand people on a personal basis. They need to recognize that spark of strength, and know how to fan it to full flame. That someone could be you. That’s how I learned my coaching skills, too. Somebody helped me find my strength – my spark – and taught me to use it to help other people. And that’s where you are. Somebody was able to find the spark in you and encouraged you, fanned your flame, and put you on the road to where you are today.
If you can “Find the Spark and Fan the Flame” in each member of your team, you will create better team members. Better team members result in more successful project outcomes. Doesn’t that make sense? And, isn’t that what you want? Isn’t that your job as manager? — To lead your team and coach them to do better? So, I’m going to teach you how to be a better manager by being a better coach. We will use basic human needs to “Find the Spark and Fan the Flame.”
Remember this — People are not a blank sheet. Everybody – even you – comes to the job with “stuff” going on, in their lives and in their minds. Of course, you want everybody to focus totally on their work, on the job at hand. But we are people, human beings, not machines. If Little Johnny threw up after breakfast this morning, you cannot help but worry about what’s going on and if he is okay. And so will your team members and project staff.