Though the ‘deficiency needs’ may be seen as ‘basic’, and can be met and neutralized (i.e. they stop being motivators in one's life), self-actualization and transcendence are ‘being’ or ‘growth needs’ (also termed "B-needs"), i.e. they are enduring motivations or drivers of behaviour.
A dictionary definition is:
The process of establishing oneself as a whole person, able to develop one’s abilities and to understand oneself.
Self-actualization (a term originated by Kurt Goldstein) is the ‘instinctual’ need of humans to make the most of their unique abilities.
Maslow described it as follows.
Self Actualization is the intrinsic growth of what is already in the organism, or more accurately, of what the organism is. (‘Psychological Review’, 1949)
Maslow writes the following of self-actualizing people.
A dictionary definition of ‘transcend’ is.
To go above or beyond expectation.
At the top of the triangle, self-transcendence is also sometimes referred to as spiritual needs.
Viktor Frankl expresses the relationship between self-actualization and self-transcendence clearly in ‘Man's Search for Meaning’.
‘The true meaning of life is to be found in the world rather than within man or his own psyche, as though it were a closed system.
Human experience is essentially self-transcendence rather than self-actualization.
Self-actualization is not a possible aim at all, for the simple reason that the more a man would strive for it, the more he would miss it.
In other words, self-actualization cannot be attained if it is made an end in itself, but only as a side effect of self-transcendence’. (p.175)
Maslow believes that we should study and cultivate ‘peak experiences’ as a way of providing a route to achieve personal growth, integration, and fulfillment. Peak experiences are unifying, and ego-transcending, bringing a sense of purpose to the individual and a sense of integration.
Individuals most likely to have peak experiences are self-actualized, mature, healthy, and self-fulfilled.
All individuals are capable of peak experiences.
Those who do not have them somehow depress or deny them.
Maslow originally found the occurrence of peak experiences in individuals who were self-actualized, but later found that peak experiences happened to non-actualizers as well but not as often.
In his ‘The Farther Reaches of Human Nature’ (New York, 1971) he writes:
‘I have recently found it more and more useful to differentiate between two kinds of self-actualizing people, those who were clearly healthy, but with little or no experiences of transcendence, and those in whom transcendent experiencing was important and even central.
It is unfortunate that I can no longer be theoretically neat at this level. I find not only self-actualizing persons who transcend, but also non-healthy people, non-self-actualizers who have important transcendent experiences. It seems to me that I have found some degree of transcendence in many people other than self-actualizing ones as I have defined this term’.
Ken Wilber, a theorist and integral psychologist who was highly influenced by Maslow, later clarified a peak experience as being a state that could occur at any stage of development and that ‘the way in which those states or realms are experienced and interpreted depends to some degree on the stage of development of the person having the peak experience’.
Wilber was in agreement with Maslow about the positive values of peak experiences saying, ‘In order for higher development to occur, those temporary states must become permanent traits’.
Wilber was, in his early career, a leader in Transpersonal psychology, a distinct school of psychology that is interested in studying human experiences which transcend the traditional boundaries of the ego.
In 1969, Abraham Maslow, Stanislav Grof and Anthony Sutich were the initiators behind the publication of the first issue of the ‘Journal of Transpersonal Psychology’.
In the main good leaders seek to remove risk (see The Complete Risk Management package) and fear whilst poor leaders survive on threats and manage risk weakly.
This information (and more) can be found in the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia.
If you can align jobs with the basic needs of the individual motivation will be higher.
Clearly, as one need is met another appears on the horizon.
The challenge for the manager is to try to match the new needs of the individual to the tasks at hand as well as using other good additional motivational techniques.