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Employee Fulfilment

Simply stated- the role of management is to create an environment where people achieve their best results on behalf of company objectives. Establishing such an atmosphere- however- involves many variables and requires various forms of motivation. Among the experts in human behavior who have written on the subject of motivating individuals- perhaps one of the most frequently quoted is Abraham Maslow- the college professor who in the 1940s and 1950s postulated that humans were moved by a hierarchy o

Jack Olcott   |   1st February 2014
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Jack Olcott Jack Olcott

Possibly the world’s most recognized advocate, if not expert on the value of Business Aviation,...
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Flight Department Management and Maslow’s Theory of Motivation

Simply stated- the role of management is to create an environment where people achieve their best results on behalf of company objectives. Establishing such an atmosphere- however- involves many variables and requires various forms of motivation. Among the experts in human behavior who have written on the subject of motivating individuals- perhaps one of the most frequently quoted is Abraham Maslow- the college professor who in the 1940s and 1950s postulated that humans were moved by a hierarchy of needs.

Maslow argued that people required fulfilment of certain needs- starting with the most basic such as breathing- eating- sleeping and reproducing- in order to focus on higher levels of need. Only when an individual was assured that his or her stomach was sufficiently full to sustain life and that shelter was available would that person be able to seek the next level- which Maslow identified with security. When the necessities of life were assured- an individual had the substance to seek a safe living environment- relatively free from danger caused by predators or poverty.

The third level within Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was to be an accepted member of a group. After securing the basics needed to sustain life and remain safe- individuals wanted to participate in friendships and be actively engaged within a family or team structure—i.e.- to be “loved” as an individual. Only when a person achieved Maslow’s third level of need did they seek the satisfaction of having an expanded role in the dynamics of human relations.

Relevance to Basic Management
Before proceeding to Maslow’s fourth and fifth stratifications within his hierarchy- let us consider the importance of satisfying the physiological- security and belonging levels of need. Management has a responsibility to provide employees with sufficient compensation to meet their requirements for food- shelter- medical care- shelter and other necessities of life- and to provide for a family.

Employees also need to feel that they belong to the team and have a role to play. While management may argue that the company is not responsible for the way employees spend their earnings- clearly employees are motivated by a compensation system that enables them to meet the demands of Maslow’s initial levels within his hierarchy.

Management also has a key role in re-enforcing the value of each employee in meeting the department’s objectives. If compensation is insufficient to satisfy a reasonable expectation of food- shelter and security- and if supervision discounts the employee’s desire to belong and contribute within the structure of the flight department- it will be difficult if not impossible to motivate workers to be productive members of the company team.

Aviation is not noted for job security- and until recently Business Aviation was considered the poor stepchild to the scheduled Airlines. Within the last decade or so- the salaries of corporate pilots and to a certain extent working conditions have reversed regarding the attractiveness of a career in Business Aviation vs. the scheduled air carriers for young aviators. Managers of flight departments are well advised to establish a work environment where employees feel assured that their basic needs will be met.

Esteem and Self-Actualization
Maslow’s fourth hierarchical level- which he identified with esteem- is characterized by the individual feeling proud of his or her achievements. The employee possesses a legitimate degree of self-confidence and self-esteem- in part generated by clear successes in his or her job and by a shared respect between the worker and peers. No longer comfortable with simply belonging- the employee seeks a leadership role within the flight department.

Managers are wise to identify those employees who exhibit the need to contribute on a higher level of team activity. Flight departments have several functions that require team leaders- thus there are ample opportunities to satisfy an individual’s need to be a leader by identifying those employees who exhibit the interest and ability to contribute beyond a basic level. Failure to recognize the need for self-esteem and a meaningful leadership role risks losing a productive member of the Business Aviation team.

The fifth and highest level within Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is centered on an individual’s sense of personal fulfilment—a state-of-being known as self-actualization. Those who rise to Maslow’s highest level seem content with their status in their career and life. They are at peace with their level of creativity- morality- ability to address and solve problems- and their contributions to their family- peers and community. They believe they know what their legacy is and how they will be remembered. In essence they have achieved their full potential—they are who they want to be!

The employee who achieves sufficient self-awareness to find the level within the flight department that matches his or her needs and desires will be a satisfied and productive worker. The manager who helps an employee achieve such a state of fulfilment has indeed created an environment where employees can do their best.

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