They don’t need to keep them there, but they do need to meet them there.

This was from a conversation I had with my girlfriend last week. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it at some point, but she’s the COO for a national health club chain and, thankfully, some of their facilities are starting to reopen.

Our discussion was about club employees coming back from being furloughed and how managers can most effectively communicate with their teams.

Below is a popular slide I’ve used in many leadership presentations, based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:

I'm a huge fan of this model, and if you're unfamiliar, it basically states that lower level needs must be met before you can ascend up the hierarchy.

For all of us, physiological needs are always met. But, if you've ever been choking / drowning, severely dehydrated, ungodly hangry, or tired beyond belief, you know NOTHING else in the world matters until you've gotten air, water, food or sleep.

The second level, safety needs, are where many people are right now. As leaders, we have to appreciate that this may be the first time in many people's lives that they've been out of work. They probably never thought in their wildest dreams that they'd be furloughed, and talking to them about fulfilling their potential or their status within the organization fails to recognize their current needs.

(we could also discuss the dual threat of the virus to our safety needs, but we have Memorial Day weekends to get to, and I'm trying to keep this post from becoming a novel)

As a leader, I've always liked the visual of getting on an elevator...

Meet them there, but don't keep them there. Take them up.

This means doing what you can to make people feel safe and secure in their roles.

Then, make them feel like they belong to something; that they're a part of a team.

Then, reward and recognize people for a job well done.

Then, and ONLY then, challenge them to strive for the highest Outperforming version of themselves.

Please feel free to share this with your teams, or if I can help you with a virtual presentation, let's make it happen.

Wishing you a safe and blessed holiday weekend,



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