Understanding Needs at Work
As human beings we all have the same needs. At a certain moment, our needs are either met or unmet.
Have you ever wondered why people react differently to things that happen at work?
Needs met and unmet
For example, suppose team meetings are unstructured, full of joking and humour, and seem to ramble on with no agenda or goals. Some people may enjoy meetings like these. Perhaps their needs for fun, relaxation and connection with co-workers are being met and meeting these needs is important to them right now. Some people may not enjoy meetings like these. Perhaps their needs for information, effectiveness, predictability, and purpose are not being met, and these needs are a high priority for them right now.
Some common needs at work
- recognition, appreciation, understanding
- belonging, connection, inclusion
- independence, autonomy, creativity
- purpose, meaning, contribution
- stability, order, predictability
- equality, mutuality, respect
- support, reassurance, trust
Considering strategies to meet needs
When we understand which of our needs are met or unmet at work, we can consider strategies to meet those that aren't met. It is best when a strategy doesn't cause another need to become unmet. In the situation described above, the person whose needs are not met by the unstructured meetings can consider some strategies to meet their needs.
|Strategy||May meet need for||May create or continue unmet need for|
|Joining in with the joking||Fun, relaxation, connection, ease||Information, effectiveness, predictability, purpose|
|Avoiding the meetings||Ease||Reliability, honesty, integrity|
|Insisting that the team use a specific structure for the meetings||Order||Inclusion, cooperation|
|Sending the team an angry email||Self-expression||Harmony, consideration, connection|
|Quitting their job||Ease||Security, connection|
|Requesting that the team consider strategies to meet everyone's needs regarding team meetings||Connection, inclusion, growth||Predictability (because a change is being requested)
Ease (some people may initially feel uncomfortable looking at needs)
|(If team says no to the above request) finding other ways to meet need for information, effectiveness, predictability and purpose other than in team meetings|
For a description of how to have a conversation that considers needs, see Conversations that Consider Needs.