(Not) Maslows Pyramid

Leadership Seminars often use Schulz von Thun’s 4 aspects of a message (communication) and Maslow’s pyramid of needs (motivation).

Here are 2 thoughts on Maslow (besides the fact that he never drew a pyramid but others did when they turned his thoughts into tools and money)

  1. In many graphics I have seen an old version of his pyramid, topped by „Self-actualization“. Too sad, because by 1971 he already changed his model, and put „Transcendence“ at the top: „Transcendence refers to the very highest and most inclusive or holistic levels of human consciousness, behaving and relating, as ends rather than means, to oneself, to significant others, to human beings in general, to other species, to nature, and to the cosmos“ – bam! Isn’t it inspiring? Why not use it in seminars instead of self fulfillment or self-actualization…
  2. When talking to young leaders it isn’t enough to invest some minutes in reflection about this pyramid. If you’re a trainer using it, you might instead want to take the pic below. It is about interaction. Ask them two questions:
    1. from wich level of the pyramid does your motivation to lead come from? (Security? Belonging? Self-fulfillment? Or even Transcendence?)
    2. at wich stage of your teammates pyramids does your day to day leadership aim? (Their security? Status? Their Self-fulfillment?).

I’ve seen leaders cry in this session.

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