According to Theory of Needs by David McClelland, there are three main motivation drives: need for achievement, need for affiliation and need for power. Let’s see what are these needs about and how to deal with it.

Need for achievement.

Have you ever met people who are always interested to improve themselves (and actually others as well), to become faster, smarter and more productive then ever? It seams they cannot stop self-development process; they have an eager for achievements and enhancements inside and around them. Telling the truth I also share this drive and would like to provide a "How To" that can help to motivate and manage more efficiently and less stressfully such individuals or achievers, as they are called in Need Theory model.

What Motivates Achievers How to Deal with This Drive
Be better then yourself
  • Develop yourself;
  • Possibility to compare past and current achievements;
  • Winning is more important then participation;
  • Provide a clear plan/path for professional grow;
  • Define how person can build his/her career within project/program;
  • Give an opportunity to attend conferences and trainings;
  • Set clear goals and meaningful KPIs;
Be better then others
  • Compare their results to others;
  • Show interest in how others are progressing;
  • Don’t like when others make fun of them
  • Share information about evaluation criteria of people in team;
  • Explain why someone is getting something and someone not;
  • Ensure that bonuses and appraisal system is transparent;
  • Communicate openly information on team members achievements;
Challenging tasks
  • The task should be difficult, but achievable
  • Can do monotonous work, when it’s a part of interesting endeavor;
  • Prefer to fulfill tasks step by step;
  • Clarify how the task impacts the project or program;
  • Make sure the reason to perform the task is clear for the person;
  • Check that the task correspond person’s skills;
Stable and long term career
  • Interested to become a good professional in one area, then a jack-of-all-trades
  • Provide a possibility to deepen their knowledge;
  • Confirm that the project/program is stable enough for long career planning
Motivation: Need for Affiliation

Sometimes we have to make hard choices and decide: what is more important to get the result or to stay in good relations with people around? For people with strong Need for Achievement the "result" answer is obvious, although for the ones with Need for Affiliation relations usually matters more. Let's see what else motivates people with this drive.

What Motivates People with Need for AffiliationHow to Deal with This Drive
Find new friends
  • Possibility to meet new people;
  • Easily start conversation with strangers;
  • Are open-minded and easy-going.
Allow contact new people from other teams and client side. They are good communicates and able to setup connections between people;
  • Invite to kick-off meetings;
  • Involve to new-comers adoption procedures;
Stay in touch with friends
  • Enjoy calling and writing to people they know;
  • Like to show care and be cared about;
  • Prefer to work with friends more then with experts;
  • Have lot's of friends in different areas and companies.
  • Engage in mentoring and coaching activities;
  • Make sure they have enough interactions with other project/team members; They like face-to-face meetings, calls and correspondence, the more communication they have, the more happy they feel;
  • When possible, provide opportunity to build friendly and informal relations with team members from client side;
  • Show empathy and interest;
  • Allow to assist other team members when they don't mind;
Spend time together with people
  • Know how to have fun and inspire people around them;
  • Able to provide support and encouragement;
  • Loyal to different point of view,
  • Appreciate team work;
  • Don't mind to do routine/monotonous work;
  • Easily practice Management 3.0 style (even without knowing what it is)
  • Assign tasks that require good collaboration skills;
  • Can experience stress in unfriendly and competitive atmosphere;
  • Try to avoid involving them into confrontations/conflict, they can feel discomfort because of it;
  • Be careful with negative feedback, especially public one, they can take it personal and become deeply hurt;
  • Encourage to share their ides and contribute to team activities, they will be grateful for this;
  • Show appreciation of their good results at work, they will be glad to hear "Thank you";
  • Involve into social and volunteering activities, they can bring lot's of value to it.
Interesting fact: parents with prominent affiliation drive usually bring up children with need for achievement drive.

Motivation: Need for Power

Do you know people, who very often use the following words: influence, control, status, struggle, discipline, subordination, leadership? This kind of people also finds pleasure in vertical career development. They like to manage others and they are driven by power.

What Motivates People with Need for Power How to Deal with This Drive
  • Possibility to control other people;
  • Power to delegate tasks;
  • Enjoy doing multiple activities at once;
  • Like to know what is going on around them;
  • Need to keep track of their and others activities;

  • Provide them possibility to manage someone;
  • Career development means for them increase of number of people managed by them;
  • Give them some freedom in decision-making;
  • Assign multiple tasks;
  • Don’t assign tasks directly to their subordinates;
  • Consult them and ask for advice
  • Need to see reaction on their ideas or actions
  • Cares about how other people perceive them
  • Can find pleasure in changing emotions of others
  • Have fun in intrigues, power games

  • Allow them to influence you, show reaction
  • Direct their power games into constructive area, context
  • Develop your own management style, soft and hard skills, they need strong leaders around them
  • Pay attention to them, don’t ignore their ideas and actions

  • Enjoy being followed
  • Pleased being praised
  • Glad to lead others
  • Like public speaking
  • Delegate them presentations to public
  • Publicly announce their successes
  • Set community creation tasks for them
  • Allow them to trainer and mentor employees
Status recognition
  • Social success means a lot for them
  • Collect status artifacts
  • Count victories
  • Engaged in volunteering activities
    • Make sure their position has the corresponding status environment
    • Provide them possibility to join corporative clubs, non-public communities other “special” events
    More approaches and instruments for team motivation, trust building and collaboration, you can find in the recording of the webinar “Team Coaching, Part I and Part II”
    Svetlana Mukhina
    An Agile coach and a trainer at Luxoft Agile Practice. She has over fifteen years of experience in IT as a delivery manager and department head. She is currently working closely with delivery managers, teams and businesses, performing project assessments, providing teams and individuals Agile coaching, creating and conducting trainings and workshops. She enjoys observing how a new concept or approach is internalized and waiting for the “A-ha” moment to arrive. She is passionate about showing innovative and useful tools to teams and individuals, and loves helping make their daily tasks less burdensome and more fun.