Good Leaders Align Needs

Why the death of homo-economicus requires managers to change their management tactics and adopt a humanistic management model.

How a manager manages people is largely dictated by their concept of what it means to be human. In the world of business, the dominant model for a long time has been homo-economicus.

Homo-economicus, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, is basically the assumption that humans are rational animals and that given good information; we will make rationally optimal decisions. Most people who advocate for the value of unrestrained free markets do so because they believe in the homo-economicus model.

Now, in case you weren’t aware of it from the obviousness that we humans aren’t very rational, the Evolution Institute has put out a journal with studies that provide the evidence that we humans aren’t very rational. See the journal here:

The studies they cite show that humans actually make decisions more how the Humanistic Psychologist Abraham Maslow suggested we do based on our hierarchy of needs.

What does this mean for a manager? It means that if you want to successfully encourage people to make decisions that benefit your company, you need to take their real decision making process into account, which means you need to understand that we humans seem to make decisions by weighing our hierarchy of needs against one another.

When you understand this, you understand that your job as a manager is to help people align their various needs so that the “right” choice is the overwhelmingly obvious choice and the easy choice to make because SO MANY of their needs are met when they make that choice.

To do this you need to help align an employee’s individual needs with the needs of their working group and the working group’s needs must be aligned with the needs of the company. A Humanist manager takes that another couple of steps further by aligning the needs of the company with the needs of the society and with the needs of the ecological biosphere that is earth.

And this really is the Humanist approach in a nutshell. Using a realistic and scientifically based view of humans to better help humans achieve not only their needs, but the needs of the society in which we all live. Can I get an AMEN?

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