This blog comes from the “teach back” performed by M.L. during a Nebraska event. It was an excellent narrative which helped instructors understand an application of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

M.L. has a friend (Tom) that he has been close to for a long time. When Tom lost his job, he was justifiably concerned about how this would impact his family, his wife and child. Tom was obviously under considerable stress. M.L. and other friends decided to reach out to Tom and decided to cheer him up by taking him out for an evening to enjoy a movie. Although Tom accepted their offer, M.L. and his friends became offended when Tom did not appear to be particularly appreciative of their generous act, giving up their time and funds to show him a good time.

When M.L. reflected on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs he had a “light bulb” moment. He realized that while their generous offer might have provided diversion and distraction from the issues causing Tom stress, their act did not meet the unmet need Tom was experiencing. Maybe they were demonstrating sympathy rather than empathy. Instead of providing for his basic human needs of food, clothing and shelter, they were entertaining him, perhaps addressing “self-actualization”. M.L. gathered food from his vegetable garden which he provided to Tom. He also offered to provide funds to help pay rent. When this offer was made, Tom was extremely appreciative and demonstrated his gratitude at his friend’s generosity and support.

This story was a great tool which helped the Mandt instructors in the event understand the need to perform an objective assessment in determining what unmet need was causing the stress. M.L. used empathy to determine the best way to help reduce his friend’s stress and demonstrated not only how but also the value of a practical application of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Aaryce Hayes – SVP Operations