Motivational Drivers for Success

Having served as a senior level and C-level executive for over 20 years, one thing I’ve observed is that team members are typically self-motivated in one of six ways. Of course there can be a mix of these motivators for anyone but there does seem to be a primary preference in most people. Understanding the motivators that drive professionals at all levels to succeed is an important management skill. Think carefully about the characteristics that best describe your team members as you try to create a work environment that allows your professionals to motivate themselves:

1. Achievement Motivation: These professionals push themselves to personally accomplish significant goals.

• they take risks
• they self-actualize
• they achieve challenging goals
• they subject others to stress while they are in the “accomplishing” mode
• they prefer to seek visible results and tangible rewards.

2. Autonomy Motivation: These professionals desire to act independently and to show creativity.

• they prefer to do his/her own thing
• they thrive on independence
• they willingly take initiative
• they develop new ideas, approaches and techniques

3. Power Motivation: These professionals focus on seeking out opportunities for recognition, prestige, authority and control.

• they seek to be viewed as successful in the eyes of others
• they prefer to lead and set direction for other team members
• they prefer visible signs of authority and the trappings of power

4. Balance Motivation: These professionals seek work environments that place equal emphasis on work and non-work activities.

• they prefer flexible hours
• they enjoy non-work activities in the company and in their communities
• they dislike overtime
• they like substantial time-off and would prefer, often, to work from home and telecommute.

5. Job Security Motivation: These professionals seek work environments that provide stability and security.

• they focus on job security
• they prefer predictability in their work assignments and organizational structure
• they like to emphasize predictability
• they strongly favor comfortable, clean, safe work environments
• they prefer a regular highly predictable income.

6. Relationship Motivation: These professionals seek out opportunities to build strong relationships and to be of service to their co-workers and others.

• they seek to relate to and help others
• they foster harmony wherever possible
• they provide services to others
• they emphasize giving to others
• they work with and base their life on strong values through other directed service.

In looking at your individual team members, note how the various motivational drivers are manifested. Do all you can to create a welcoming, supportive environment which positively cultivates these different motivators. This gives the employee the chance to be self-empowered and motivated in ways that meet their unique needs. When you’ve been successful in building a motivational framework that acknowledges these drivers, each of your staff members will be able to tap into the motivators that make the most sense for them. Their efforts and resulting achievements will be credited, in large part, to a motivational environment that met their own unique needs and which also supported the aggregate needs of the team as a whole. These motivational themes are explored in depth and discussed in our Executive Workshop, Influencing Others – Motivational Strategies.

PACES, LLC gratefully acknowledges the contributions made by the authors of Successful Managers Handbook, Personnel Decisions International, 2003, as a reference for this blog.


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