During the past year, we have all experienced much instability and chaos. While everyone reacts to what is happening around us in a slightly different way, there are six basic human needs that when fulfilled, can help with feeling safe and in a good mental state of mind.

As leaders during tough times whether in our businesses, in our communities, or in our families, it’s important for us to understand these human needs so that we can better support the people around us when they are struggling.  Understanding these basic human needs will help you understand how each person in your life is dealing with the situation and what they are struggling with during this time

  1. Certainty is the assurance that you will be able to avoid pain and gain pleasure. In this time of so much uncertainty, this is a human need that is not being met for many of us. As a leader, being aware of this, we can work to bring some level of certainty to the people around us. For example, look for ways to get our teams involved in making decisions or solving problems within our business that we can control, or how can we get our kids and our families involved in adapting to the change that is happening in our homes? We can provide certainty even in the face of uncertainty by taking back control of what you can. 
  2. Variety is the need for a change or a new stimulus. Now is the opportunity to think differently about our businesses, to think differently about our family, and how we operate to provide some variety in the normal course of life. Allow people around you to challenge themselves in different ways, learn a new skill, or take on a new responsibility to help them meet this need. Be open to new ideas and new ways to solving problems and you not only will help those around you, but you may just find a new way of doing something that proves to be extremely successful for you or your business.
  3. Significance comes from feeling unique, important, special or truly needed. Many of us are struggling with how to meet this basic human need because we feel like so much of what is happening is out of our control. It is important for us as leaders to make sure the people around us feel significant each day in some way, even if it’s small.  How can we involve them in a new task or new project or idea to make them feel like they’re part of something that is having an impact?
  4. Connection and love are strong feelings of closeness or union with someone or something. With the major changes we have all experienced over the last year, people are feeling isolated more than ever before. Our families are isolated from their friends and employees are isolated from each other. Leaders need to find different ways to connect with each of the people in their lives and for some of us that means connecting via video and seeing someone’s face to let them know that you are connected and thinking about them. Whether that’s an employee whose working remote or it’s a relative who you’re unable to see during this time, making sure you are truly connecting with them visually is crucial.
  5. Growth is an expansion of our capacity, our capability and our understanding. People need to be stimulated and feel like they are continuing to grow. During this past year, the reality is, many of us have felt stuck. As leaders, it is important for us to help ourselves and others find ways to continue to grow, even if it is in small ways. Whether that’s taking an online class, learning a new skill, or catching up on your reading, we need to find ways to stimulate growth and to feel like we are moving forward instead of standing still.
  6. Contribution is a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others. Many of us are trying to find ways to contribute to what’s going on but we feel helpless at times. Helping those around us find ways to contribute to others whether it’s with their knowledge, their time, or other resources can help us feel like we are making a difference.

We can help each other most during this time by both listening and articulating what basic human needs are not being met and finding ways to support each other in meeting those needs.  My challenge for you today is to reach out to a few people around you and ask them which of these basic human needs they are struggling to fulfill and then help them find solutions.

Take our Basic Needs Assessment here.

For more from Jaime Taets visit www.keystonegroupintl.com