Your personal management style is based on a combination of three needs: to achieve, to dominate, and to affiliate.  Throw into the mix your personality traits and you are either setting yourself up for success or failure.  The difference is your level of awareness of how you impact your relationships, whether it matters, whether end results justify means, and whether positional power trumps collaborative power.

Setting up for failure:

  • You may have a high need to achieve with an equally high need to dominate.  With this combination, you will want to be too involved with details, micromanage, be too demanding, while your delegation skills will be impaired by your need to control.
  • If your need to achieve is too focused on individual gain, teamwork will suffer, as well as, your ability to see the big picture.
  • If you’re the “I work alone” type with a need for dominance, you’re likely to not cooperate with colleagues, demand strict allegiances and put up walls to maintain independence and control.
  • If your greater need is dominance with a capacity for aggression, you will likely exhibit a warlord mentality with an abusive management style.  You will tend to push through decisions that lead to quick fixes and reap resentment and lowered performance from staff.

Dominance, with an appropriate combination of achievement and affiliation, and with attuned personality traits can prove to be a winning mix.  As an example, if you’re low on deference (giving respect), you will experience tension between yourself and your boss vs. having high deference for others, thus making a success of relationships.

New Perspective:    We each have exceptional strengths to counter our self-sabotaging tendencies.  Becoming more aware of our strengths, needs and traits helps us to make improved choices.    

Setting up for success:Heightened awareness of responses (tone of voice, abruptness, impatience).

Confident enough to ask for help when needed.

Ability to pull together a group of people to act on shared goals.

Evaluate information more carefully (use SWOT Analysis and SMART Goals).

Develop the ability to see multiple solutions.

“It takes more work (emotionally, mentally, spiritually) to be a Collaborative Leader, but it’s worth it — both for the organization’s sustainability and the leader’s personal growth.”   

 Knowing your motivating driver will help you leverage your management style, but knowing your team members’ motivating drivers will allow you to know which tasks will fit each the best and how they will respond to feedback and praise.

 The three motivators are achievement, affiliation, and power. These are based on McClelland’s Needs Theory, one of the oldest models of motivation and still significant as a business tool today.  Depending on someone’s dominant motivator, they will display different characteristics as follows:

Achievement: If this is your dominant driver, you have a strong need to set and accomplish challenging goals, take calculated risks and like to receive feedback on your progress often.

Affiliation: You may be motivated by more than one driver but if this is your focus, you want to belong to the group, and want to be liked. You favor collaboration over competition and don’t like risk or uncertainty.

Power: If this is your overriding driver, you want to control and influence others. You enjoy status, recognition, winning and being competitive. There are two groupings with this driver – personal and organizational. Those grouped in the personal power category, want to control others while those in the organizational group like to arrange the efforts of a team to further the company’s goals.

These drivers are based on our needs as they manifest in the work environment.  You may be strong in all three, but typically one is more dominant.  Notice in yourself and the people around you which needs are most important to fulfill by the characteristics mentioned above.  Do you recognize your driver?

New Perspective:

Knowing which motivators drive your people will influence how you set goals, provide feedback, and reward your team. When you know “what’s in it for them,” and can help them achieve their objective, you are making an influential connection that provides a mutual benefit.


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