Understanding group needs

  • Individual needs
  • Task needs
  • Group needs
  • Balance of task and group needs

Groups are comprised of individuals, but they also have a life of their own. To recognise what is required for dealing with both the needs of the group and also each of the individuals is an important skill of leaders. There are two very useful models which illustrate the needs of outdoor adventure groups and the individuals in those groups. The first is the three circles of needs and the other is Maslow's (1943) hierarchy of needs, both described in this chapter.

The three circles of needs illustrates the desirability of balancing individual needs, task needs and group needs. It also emphasises the interaction between these three needs. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model identifies five levels of human needs and gives a priority ranking for each. Maslow argues that an individual cannot progress up this ladder until their basic needs on the lower levels are satisfactorily met. All leaders need an understanding of these two concepts.