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How can we translate Maslow Pyramid to IT world?

If you are a team leader or manager you have probably heard about Maslow pyramid. It shows 5 different levels. The higher we go the more spiritual needs we find.

This is theory, but how to translate it to actions that you can take to rise morale in the team and help your teammates? I was thinking about it recently.


This is basic physical need to have a job. Place where you earn money. Because of the money you can pays the bills, buy car and house. Have a sense of financial independence. You as a manager can hire the best people. Make them feel good at company where you work.


When people have jobs, they need to know that they are secure. Engineers in IT sector are a little spoiled by the current situation on the market. But still people need to feel safe at work.

Keep them recognized. There are many ways to do so. The simplest is to say that you appreciate their work.

Give them feedback, both positive and negative which should be a driver to improvements. Do it continuously.

Support people in your teams. Remember that “Mistakes are ok”.

Help them grow by preparing growth plan together. When they have new skills they feel more secure. They feel they are needed.

Life insurance also can help. You can talk with your HR department and discuss options if you do not have it yet in your company.


People need to feel like they are part of a team, that they are a part of something bigger. They need to know that their contribution is valued by company where they work. You as a manager or team leader can help them.

Organize “one on one” meeting with people in your team. This is a great place to talk about many things, not only build rapport but also solve problems and show that they can count on you.

Find their motivators. .This is important to know what they like at work and what they do not like. Try to build working environment where people can be happier. Communication is a key.

Organize integration events. People work better when are integrated. After that kind of events artificial psychological barriers disappear.

Organize team building games that provides fun and show how we work together.


Everyone likes to feel that he or she is important for a team, project and organization. Due to my observation this need is bigger in bigger companies. Team leaders and managers should also influence this area.

Recognize people successes. There are many ways to do so. Use your imagination. You can start from simple “Good job”. Ask customer to write few positive words (you can even prepare template for him). You can introduce recognition box (I wrote about it in article related to dealing with underperformers). Other ideas is top performer survey and many other things like giving badges etc.

Work with your people on goals and growth plan. Help them prepare action items and track them.

Show company and customers strategy, and explain how your people work help organization.

You can assign a mentor who help your teammates push their development.


Most of the people want to do more than what is expected from them when they are hired for current position. They want to achieve more.

Give them opportunities for growth, learning, and leading. Show them tools and approaches.

Be a good coach. Asking proper questions can be more powerful than giving solutions. People very often know answers but they are hidden under the fog.

Support your people. There are situation when people need delicate push into the right direction. They need to also know that you will support them.

Empowerment is a great motivator and tool that drives self-actualization. Check what you can do to help them grow. Maybe you can raise new leaders, mentors or managers inside your unit. Engage them into decision making. Build transparency on what is going on in the project. Delegate more important tasks.

“Less control more trust.”

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