The Psychology of Management
Authored by Ayesha Rajan, Research Analyst at Vikriti Management Consulting
The field of management is a dynamic and unique one – it combines the left and right brain, art and science, as well as many other factors. One of the fields of study that is extremely relevant to the field of management is psychology. The study of psychology as it relates to management helps us understand what motivates our employees, as well as what tools can help make work more enjoyable for them. Applying these techniques to our work environment can help to increase productivity, as well as employee satisfaction.
What is unique about management is that, unlike many other fields, we are not focused on group psychology and how a group will react as a whole. Rather, we are focused on individual psychology and understanding employees on a deeper, more personal level. To begin looking at this we look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs; we do this because understanding basic human needs is incredibly necessary because when people spend ⅓ of their day at work, a lot of their needs and sense of self are tied to their job. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states that we need components of these things in our lives: self actualization, self esteem, social interaction, security and, of course, our physical needs such as food and water. In a work setting, this can be translated in several ways. Self actualization is rooted in the need to develop and fulfill a talent or trait that is unique to each of us; at work, this need can be supported by encouraging employees to develop their skills further by taking a class or seminar. Self esteem can be fulfilled at work by recognizing the success, or even improvement, of employees at meetings or through promotions. Social interaction can be achieved through work by creating an open and accepting environment for employees in which social activities and team building/bonding is encouraged. Security and physical needs are often things that can be supported by simply having a job, i.e. the ability to afford a house and food. However, employers can go a step further by implementing and encouraging the use of mental health resources, whether it be through meditation or therapy, to further support their employees’ sense of safety. Employers can also support the need for food and physical activity by providing nutritious and healthy options at the office and by encouraging breaks to take a walk or by integrating physical activities into team building experiences through a hike or yoga class.
As the lines between work and home continue to blur throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic, and as our options for self expression are limited, many people are finding themselves more tied up than ever in their work life. When people identify strongly with their work, a place or thing they spend a good portion of their lives on, their happiness and psychological well-being becomes even more closely related to their jobs. Thus, the need to translate our needs in life into things that can be fulfilled through work can greatly improve the well-being of employees and, in turn, improve their productivity at work.