Six facets of human needs that drive business success

COVID-19 closed the door on some businesses while others struggled but managed to make it. The economy seems to be looking up. With the nice weather we are beginning to have, I see a lot of activity.

Construction is beginning on Taco Bell in west Huntingdon.Tyson Foods is opening in Humboldt and hiring already.

In good economic times and bad, some businesses find a path to success while others are forced to board up their windows and doors.

What’s the difference between those that soar and those that flounder?

 Ultimately, business success comes down to how well the people who work for that business perform, according to Jeanet Wade, the ForbesBooks author of The Human Team: So, You Created a Team But People Showed Up! 

 And employee performance, good or bad, usually can be traced to leadership – whether company leaders want to admit it or not.

 “When teams break down and employees disengage, leaders and managers typically don’t question their own strategies,” says Wade. 

“Instead, they blame the people assigned to carry out those strategies. If they are feeling charitable, leaders and managers say those people were bad fits. If they aren’t feeling charitable, they call them whiners, complainers, or failures.

 “But in about 80 percent of cases, I believe it’s not that the people are the wrong people for the job, but rather that leaders aren’t prepared to handle what I call ‘human moments’ because they fail to understand and address these natural human needs.”

 There are six facets of human needs that leaders must take into account in order to expect teams to perform at the highest level possible.

 Those facets are:

  • Clarity. In too many workplaces, Wade says, people are unsure what’s expected of them or how their jobs fit into a larger plan. “People on teams sorely need clarity, or they’ll lapse into confusion,” she says. “Specifically, team members must understand the purpose of the team itself, their role within it, the team’s outcome goals, and how their team fits within the larger organization.” 
  • Connection. Human connection is indispensable to healthy teams and is premised on connection to common core values, physical place, and a larger company culture, Wade says. The trick is in creating those connections.
  • Contribution. Teams within an organization should never exceed 15 people, and leadership teams should be even smaller. The reason: The larger the team, the less inclined individuals are to contribute. One of the best things that leaders can do is acknowledge the human psyche’s need to contribute and to reward it.
  • Challenge. Leaders and managers often are hesitant to challenge others, not wanting to push people or make them uncomfortable. But when we withhold opportunities that challenge people, we ultimately deny others an important human need. The trick is to make sure challenges are productive. They should be difficult, but not so overwhelming that people withdraw if they fall short.
  • Consideration. Everyone feels the need to be recognized and valued. Unfortunately, leaders and managers often spend so much time on toxic or poor-performing people that they neglect everyone else. You can’t obtain and retain top talent if you don’t show them respect and consideration at every stage of the journey. They must be recognized for good work, thought about for promotions, and reminded of how critical they are to the organization.
  • Confidence. Confidence is fragile and can be easily shaken, which is why it’s critical for leaders instill confidence in their teams. People fearful about failing become hesitant, avoid difficult challenges, and are less productive. But if you have confidence, even the hard stuff doesn’t seem so daunting. When leaders, managers, or facilitators help build confidence in their teams, they can inspire others to achieve audacious, improbable goals.

 According to Wade, when all six of these facets are fully accounted for in teams, people are able to gel with one another, operate harmoniously, engage in healthy disagreement, and achieve important objectives.

I believe it’s the human element that most leaders don’t understand, just like Wade explains.

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