McClelland: Motivational Drives

user Andy Trainer



McClelland: Motivational Drives

McClelland identified three key motivating drives that work for everyone. He named these key drives as:

  • The Need for Achievement
  • The Need for Affiliation
  • The Need for Power

He also identified how these needs each vary in strength between different people. Everyone, says McClelland, is motivated by all of these, but to motivate individuals, the manager needs to consider what the primary drivers in each case are.


How to recognise the Achievement Motive in a person

  • They like working by themselves and making their own decisions
  • They like realistic challenges and getting things done
  • They do not work well under close supervision

How to deal with them and arouse their Motivation

  • Be factual, to the point and straightforward, minimise discussions
  • Use a business-like approach, no unproductive encounters or 'passing the time of day'
  • Offer ideas and suggestions and avoid telling them precisely what to do
  • Let them play a significant role in making the decision as this will commit them to it


How to recognise the Affiliation Motive in a person

  • They seek the company of others and seek to make friends
  • They are eager to interact and need to be liked as a person
  • They are warm and can appear non-assertive
  • They may talk at length about family, friends and outside interests and engage in social ritual

How to deal with them and arouse their motivation

  • They respond to warm human qualities, a smile and interest in family, social activities
  • Be prepared to spend time developing a warm relationship with them as they will do things for people they like
  • They are motivated by friendship and relationships and do things for people they relate to on a personal basis


How to recognise the power motive in a person

  • They tend to be firm, direct and competitive, and they try to be persuasive in their dealings
  • Thy like to impress and may express their status needs by displaying objects, such as trophies, medals and works of art
  • Like to act as a representative and spokesman for other people and to give advice

How to deal with them and arouse their motivation

  • Treat them as important people and recognise and refer to their status objects
  • They are impressed by manner of dress, the size of the office, club membership, salary, type of car and status achievements of the people they associate with
  • Ask their advice and opinion on matters, and listen to their point of view.
  • They pay particular attention to the manner of presentation of reports of discussions, they like things to 'look good' as well as be good.

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