In his Hierarchy of Needs, Abraham Maslow says once the basic needs for water, food and shelter are met, individuals can afford to move up to the need levels of belonging, esteem and self-actualization.
If you, as a manager, understand humans have fundamental needs, you can use them to incentivize a behavior, such as showing up on time or completing a task correctly. Money, benefits, bonuses, etc., are surrogates for food, water and shelter/safety. But this has limitations and typically is a short-term fix.
Caring is in the realm of leadership, and this is where the higher-level needs reside: belonging, esteem and self-actualization. For example, if the issue is how to get employees to care about tying off when unsupervised, using the top three tiers to reach employees will have better results.
At the top levels, these approaches can reach employees’ sense of purpose and connection. The result is they now want to do something because it is seen as bigger than themselves and worthy of their respect.
It is worth the effort to be open to all five levels, appreciate where each staff member may be and be sensitive to the fact the employee is always changing. This makes managing and leading an art form. As you hone your skills to motivate each employee individually, you will experience the truly satisfying feeling of a staff member responding well.