Esteem Needs

How Esteem Needs Can Enhance Work Motivation

Self esteem needs (also known as ego needs) fulfill the need for strength, achievement, recognition, appreciation, respect and prestige.

The manager can provide the following facilities to take care of these needs:

Maslow (1970) identified two types of esteem needs:

  1. the desire for achievement, competency, and mastery of one’s personal and professional activities
  2. the desire for prestige, status, importance, and recognition.

People who have esteem needs seek fulfillment by overtly and covertly asking to be noticed. They may want to be told that they are super professionals—that they always follow through on their responsibilities, that they are accountable, and so forth.

Overt esteem needs of people are obvious because a person asks for what is wanted.

For example:

“What is your reaction to my ability?”

In contrast, covert esteem needs must be diagnosed. For example, if a person comes back after having been asked to do something and shares that it was necessary to shorten lunch in order to get the task done, take this as a covert request for praise. In such an instance, tell this person how much you appreciate what was done and how good it is to be so accountable.

Maslow (1970) cautioned against being superficial when giving praise and reinforcement because a person motivated at the esteem level wants respect, not phoniness. Therefore, be clear about your own positive feelings about what was done and then share these feelings.

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