Balancing Needs

as a leader I always have to consider a number of different aspects before or when making a decision. Even planning falls into that category. I like to call this

Balancing Needs

simply because it’s like the person crossing the chasm on a rope. There is the environment: the wind is blowing, it’s drizzling, and the temperature sits at comfortable 17 degree Celsius. The objective is to get across the 15 meter gap within 30 minutes and to entertain the audience! The risk is falling into the water and being laughed at. Probably missing the cut for the next engagement. There are also 3 other artists who have a similar show to present.

Any difference to our daily situation as a leader? No, not at all. There is an outcome I am responsible for. Hence I task my people accordingly to get things done considering



I have a certain expectation or basic belief. I believe that people try to do their best for everything they work on.

Now, what can I do to ensure the desired outcome is achieved?

On the physiological level I can provide water, coffee, tea and maybe snacks. I can ensure sufficient breaks for lunch and fresh air.

Let’s continue to the safety level. How much and what can I control the physical environment? That includes air conditioning, desks, chairs, white boards, computer systems or any other tools that are required to get the job done.

On the next step I can show compassion and understanding of personal circumstances. How much do my people know about organisational policies regarding special leave or income assistance?

The Esteem level is where the personal development starts. Do I give the right task to the right person? Is it attainable? Is it challenging and interesting? Does it fit with the person’s interests and abilities? What support or authority is necessary?


I believe if I do this right motivation and commitment is volunteered by my people. They are interested in doing a good job and they – like me – like what they do. This is important and the top level of Maslow’s pyramid comes from within each person. It is what everybody provides when they do a job that is not bare mechanical.


Balancing needs is an important job for any leader. Because there are also other stakeholders that have needs like the budget holder (the one who invest to get it done) and the product owner (the one who wants and pays for it). These competing interests make business life so interesting 🙂

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