Understanding human motivation enables you to achieve results through people, while understanding team members and their behavior implies that you care about them and have their best interests at heart. Investing the time and effort required to understand human behavior and to motivate employees offers readily observable benefits:
• Reduction in personnel turnover
• Identification of effective motivational leadership methods
• Increase in employee productivity, creativity, and loyalty.
Human beings are complicated, and there are no simplistic rules for understanding their behavior. Certain principles, however, provide insight into why people behave in certain ways. One way of looking at human behavior is to see it as caused by needs and wants. and can be classified into four types that are called the Four P’s: protection, pleasure, profit, and pride.
The need for protection is expressed in the universal desire for a feeling of security, safety, and protection from danger, from confusion, from domination and loss of freedom, from pain and poor health, and from uncertainty. This need is also expressed in a desire for a feeling of freedom from all kinds of loss—including loss of status, reputation, time, money, or opportunity. In very practical terms, this need demands that team members perform at their best, yet feel free from the fear of losing their jobs at the whim of an unpredictable leader.
Pleasure reflects the need and desire for comfort, convenience, companionship of others, or participation in enjoyable activities. Pleasure also includes feelings of assurance and a sense of belonging. Receiving attention fulfills a pleasure need because we all want recognition and approval from others. A sense of achievement is also an important pleasure need; all of us want to feel that we are capable of accomplishing and completing worthwhile goals.
The desire for profit is seen in the concern for monetary gain, increased earnings, and other financial advantages. Some individuals are motivated more than others by the desire for profit, but nearly everyone has this need to some extent. Thrift and avoidance of waste are also expressions of the desire for profit.
A sense of pride is fostered by feelings of self-esteem as well as feelings of significance and respect from others. As you treat others in ways that make them feel good about themselves, you are meeting their need for pride. People want to feel respected, to enjoy equality with others, and to achieve prestige in groups they consider important.