Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a significant theory in psychology, which was postulated by the noted American psychologist Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper, “A Theory of Human Motivation.” Even after receiving criticism for being western in nature, the theory is still relevant and a significant part of management studies. In the five tiers of these needs, the fourth one is the “Esteem Needs.”
Once the first three needs i.e. Physiological, safety, and social needs are fulfilled, the esteem needs come into the picture. The need for a sense of personal value or esteem is derived from our desire for acceptance in society and social status. Here, people give priority and importance to gain respect, regard, accomplishments, etc. In fact, it doesn’t matter whether our social circle is small or big; we all seek approval and validation on certain matters or things from our surroundings or social circle. Different components are included in esteem needs, like gaining respect from others, confidence, individual accomplishments, belief in self, etc. Both internal (self) and external (society) acceptance are required to satisfy esteem needs. Esteem needs are categorized as lower and higher esteem needs in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Lower Esteem Needs
These needs are related to the things we do to gain respect from our society, i.e., recognition, prestige, status, fame, etc.
Higher Esteem Needs
These include the internal esteem needs of self-respect i.e. self-confidence, physical strength, independence, competence, etc.
Esteem needs play an important role in both physical and emotional well being. Thinking positive about self and being confident is required for our overall emotional balance and health. If our esteem needs are not satisfied then we will end up with negative thoughts and inferiority, which ultimately creates an adverse impact on our physical and mental health. Esteem needs support us in identifying our goals in life and we are able to see the direction in which we are working.
Examples of Esteem Needs
Let’s have some real-life examples of Esteem Needs.
1. Awards & Honors
There are various civilian and military awards established by different governments across the world. These awards are meant to instill a feeling of self-respect and pride in the recipients, and hence, contribute to “Esteem Needs.”
2. Choice of Profession
People choose different professions to gain recognition and fame in their social circle. Different professions like Doctor, Engineer, Professor, Lawyer, Management professionals, etc., that give them a sense of pride, honor, appreciation, and recognition from others.
3. Academic and non-academic achievements
In academics, i.e., both at school and college level, some students are good in their studies and accomplish top positions while others are good at non-academic or extra-curricular activities, like stage shows, debate competitions, dance programs, sports, etc. For these achievements, they win lots of prizes and certification as well as verbal appreciation from their teachers, seniors, family, and friends. This boosts their esteem and satisfies their needs of recognition, appreciation, self-confidence, etc.
4. Participation in seminars & presentations
We participate in different seminars and presentations in our studies or while doing jobs. Like in MBA studies, students give seminars on their study-related topics or any general awareness issue. In jobs also, employees of different departments like sales, HR, etc., participate in different seminars and give presentations related to their work area. This increases their self-confidence and other esteem needs.
5. Luxury Products & Services
People have esteem needs for social status, prestige and for these different luxury products and services are available in the market. Luxury cars, watches, jewelry, fashionable clothes, lifestyle products, furniture, etc., are meant for fulfilling the social status-related esteem needs of individuals.
6. Talent Shows
There are many popular talent-hunt shows, like America’s Got Talent, American Idol, and SpellBee, where people can show their talent for dance, singing, acting, etc., and get recognition, appreciation, awards, and money rewards from others that fulfill their esteem needs.
7. Promotion & Increment
As stated above that esteem needs in humans are related to the self-image perception and their strong desire for the acceptance and respect of other people in society. Similarly, employees of an organization seek recognition, rewards, appreciation from their superiors and management that play an important role in satisfying their esteem needs of self-worth. Organizations fulfill the esteem needs of employees by other means too like by providing them the opportunity of promotions for higher positions, through job enrichment and job enlargement, i.e. by expanding their roles and responsibilities in the same type of work or by assigning cross-functional tasks. Similarly, cross-functional training, special work assignments, increasing participation of employees in the decision-making process in different operational issues, taking their feedback, suggestions, ideas, etc., boost the esteem needs of employees. Attractive perks and benefits, rewards, appreciation both verbal and through certifications and awards, etc., are also considered as important elements for employee’s esteem.
8. Social Work or Social Service
People do social services or social work by contributing as a volunteer in NGOs who help poor and needy people of the society by providing means to live life, like food, shelter, clothes, education, medical assistance, care, etc. It satisfies their esteem needs of gaining respect from other people of society and recognition in the society.
9. Gyms, Yoga Centers, and Karate Classes for Physical Strength
People look for different things, like gym, yoga, and karate classes to fulfill their esteem needs by increasing their physical strength.
10. Social Media Features – Likes, Retweets, etc.
Different social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc., provide an option to like or re-share or repost or forward any post or message. “Likes” are there for approval and validation. Retweeting shows the agreement of other users for a particular post. Both features fulfill esteem needs.