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Monroe’s Hierarchy of Management Needs – part II

In this month’s newsletter I provided some thoughts regarding the hierarchy of management needs and specific elements of lower-level needs. If you didn’t get a chance to read that article, you can find it here. Following are keys to higher-level needs.


Monroe Hierarchy

Problem Solving

When the plan goes awry and the first, second or third idea doesn’t work, enter problem-solving skills. In my attempt to become a better problem solver, I did a little web research and found guidance on how to practice problem solving:

  • Define and clarify the issue.  Does it warrant action? If so, now? Is the matter urgent, important or both?
  • Gather all the facts and understand their causes.
  • Think about or brainstorm possible options and solutions.
  • Consider and compare the pros and cons of each option.
  • Consult with others.
  • Explain your decision to those involved and affected.
  • Follow up to ensure proper and effective implementation.

Although I like these steps and love frameworks; in my experience, most problem solving as a manager is mainly interpersonal in nature. It is dealing with the stuff you learned in kindergarten (please, thank you, and I am sorry).  Good problem solvers have the ability to spot issues early and involve others in the solutions.

Ability to Motivate

The “self-actualization” of management: this occurs when the team can’t wait to get back into the office because they are so proud of their work and their team. So, how hard is it to motivate a group of people to perform at their highest possible level? HARD!

Entire sections of libraries, and probably pedabytes of space on Amazon’s servers, are dedicated to the art and science of motivation, so I claim to have the silver bullet answer here. But, my best advice (gained from some successes and multiple failures) is to be nice to people. To authentically care about the staff you manage is actually motivating.  Treating people with basic respect and actively listening can go a long way in making connections with people.

Being nice; now that seems pretty fundamental!


Management is hard. My best advice to managers is to find a counselor, barman, peer network and sign up for training as you will need these tools as long as you have responsibility for others. And when things get difficult, remember the most fundamental needs first – BE NICE TO PEOPLE!


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