RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LEADERSHIP AND
Learning Objective: Recognize the five basic levels
of human need.
Are leadership and human behavior related? The two
are definitely related. Actually, human behavior dictates
the way you lead your people and also determines your
success. Without an understanding of human behavior,
you cannot be as successful as you could be as a leader.
As a petty officer and a leader, study your personnel;
try to get to know and understand them. Peoples needs
or desires dictate how they act at specific times. For
example, suppose one morning you notice one of your
technicians seems depressed. You know that is not the
Seamans normal behavior. As a leader you should call
your technician aside, show your concern, and try to help
solve the problem, if there is one. However, do not
assume total responsibility for the problem.
Your concern for your people is important. If you
keep the lines of communication open between you and
your Sailors, you cannot help but succeed as a leader. A
Sailor with an unresolved problem will not work to full
Leadership and human behavior work hand in hand.
To be a successful leader, you must understand your
people and work with them to resolve their problems.
Each of us has needs, and we direct our energies to meet
these needs as we see fit. Helping your people resolve
their problems will result in a unit that will operate
smoothly and be highly productive.
Human behavior is the result of attempts to satisfy
certain needs. These needs may be simple to under-stand
and easy to identify, such as the need for food and water.
They also may be complex, such as the need for respect
Why do people act the way they do? Why do some
people have an easy time while others have a hard time
adjusting to shipboard life? Why, with an upcoming
extended deployment, do some crew members look
forward to visiting foreign ports, while others prefer to
stay with the familiar homeport?
Finding the answers to these questions is not easy. In
fact, a whole branch of science and psychology has tried
to answer such questions but has found no hard-and-fast
answers. In general, you could say people behave the way
they do for a reason. However, the reason may not be
clear; in fact, it may not be logical or rational either to
you or to the person in question.
By observing human behavior, you can gain the
knowledge you need to better understand yourself and
other people. You can learn why people act and react in
certain ways. You can learn how to identify the various
types of behavior and needs of people. You also can
learn how to influence the behavior of people so that they
can see how meeting the needs of the command will
satisfy their own needs.
Dont take lightly human behavior and its appli-
cation to the areas of leadership and supervision. How
well you understand and apply the basic concepts could
determine, to a great extent, your success in the Navy.
All successful petty officers must have an understanding
of peoples behavior. If you understand the needs of your
people and help them to satisfy those needs, you will
succeed as a leader.
We can reasonably determine an individuals needs
by understanding basic human needs. We all have five
basic levels of need. Our needs are in order of
importance, such as our need to relieve pain (survival) is
more important than a need to be liked by coworkers
(social belonging). If we satisfy one level, then we work
to satisfy the next level of need. This need satisfaction is
an ongoing behavior that determines our everyday
Now look at the five groups, or levels, of needs and
the definition of each:
1. SURVIVALThe survival level consists of the
basics we need to sustain life itself; for example, oxygen,
food, water, sleep, and relief from pain.
level involves the need for protection from possible
threats, such as violence, disease, or poverty. It also
includes the need for the security of an adequate job and
money in the bank.