Achievement, Affiliation and Power

Managing a group of people with different personalities is never easy. But when you are

Managing a team it’s essential to know what motivates the people, how they react to positive or negative feedbacks?.

Regardless of age, culture or gender, there are only three motivating factors

  1. Achievement 
  2. Affiliation
  3. Power

If you understand the three factors then you can classify the team into these buckets and then approach them based on what they need.

Achievement, Affiliation, and Power

Achievement :

It’s the urge to achieve something. People who possess high achievements are the ones who always want to excel in their fields. They tend to avoid low risk and low rewarding things and focus on high risk high rewarding things.

They avoid low-risk things because of the lack of challenge and they don’t get the real feeling of achievement in this.

These people find innovative clever ways to achieve goals and consider their achievement a better reward than financial ones. Their preference is to work in a results-oriented work environment and always appreciate any feedback on their work. Achievement based individuals take calculated risks to reach their goals and may circumvent both high-risk and low-risk situations.

This group will have two types of people those who only prefer to work alone and the others who are great team players and can drive the team together with them.

Affiliation :

It’s the urge of a person to have the social and interpersonal skills. These people like to work collaboratively and they tend to avoid high risk situations and they get nervous with uncertainties.

These individuals socialize, maintain relationships, etc. They also tend to play by the books and will tend to continue a step process. They also fear changing the process because of the fear of failure.

They feel collaboration is the way to go and they follow the workplace rules and they don’t change the norms because of the fear of rejection.

These groups of people are good in customer interactions, Client services, stakeholder management, etc. They tend to find a comfort zone and will not tend to break that comfort zone.


Is the desire within a person to Control, authority over another, influence, and change the decisions of others. For these groups of people, power is the motivation factor.

Competition motivates them because they enjoy winning arguments ( they will be motivated as long as they win the argument 🙂 )

Status, Recognitions, Position, etc motivates them. If not carefully handled these groups of people tend to become micromanagers. As these groups are motivated by power and position they tend to ignore the knowledge which they have to gain over a period of time. So it’s important to keep a check on the learning part.

As a leader, your role is to identify the personality types and handle the members according to what they need. This will help you in identifying the personality type and you will know what can be used in favor of the team and what can go wrong.

Sounds so simple, but if you look at the diagram the intersection between these personality types is going to make things tricky and complicated.

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Blame: The Game that Goes on

We have a natural tendency to be proud of our achievements and share our positive results with others. But when it comes to failure, we usually attribute it to the external factors: the system, the bank, the teacher, the school, the country, etc.
It’s easier to find mistakes and blames others because of the Ego. Ego is a self-defense mechanism that prevents us from admitting mistakes.
Freud’s personality theory (1923) saw the psyche structured into three parts (i.e., tripartite) the id, ego, and superego all developing at different stages in our lives.
According to him ‘ego is that part of the ID which has been modified by the direct influence of the external world.’

Executive mediating 
between id impulses 
and superego 
inhibitions; testing 
reality; rational. 
Superego Operates mainly at 
conscious level but also 
Ideals and 
at preconscious level. 
morals; striving 
for perfection; 
incorporated from 
parents; becoming a 
person's conscience. 
Operates mostly at 
preconscious level. 
Basic impulses (sex and aggression); 
seeking immediate gratification; 
irrational and impulsive. 
Operates at unconscious level.
ID, Ego and SuperEgo

The ego operates according to the reality principle, working out realistic ways of satisfying the ID’s demands, often compromising or postponing satisfaction to avoid negative consequences of society.
The ego considers social realities and norms, etiquette, and rules in deciding how to behave.
The ego has no concept of right or wrong. Often the ego is weak relative to the headstrong ID, and the best the ego can do is stay on, pointing the ID in the right direction and claiming some credit at the end as if the action were it’s own.

Freud’s theory of ID, Ego, and Superego its self is a separate topic in itself. So let’s focus on Blame which is part of the ego.
If we plot the blame game in a scale then it is going to look like this

Blame Scale

On the extreme Blame side of our scale would be people who can always find something else to blame

At the other end of the spectrum are people who blame themselves for everything. There can be many reasons for this

He/she don’t want to confront with others, The self-esteem is low, The situations in their life would have made them like this and many more

There are even times we blame fate or a higher power, especially when there’s no one else who could conceivably have caused the outcome

To be in the middle of this scale and balanced life is not that easy.

Let’s have a look at ” Why we blame others”

  1. It’s an excellent defensive mechanism
  2. Blame is a tool for attack
  3. When we are not good at finding the cause of other peoples behavior
  4. Easier to blame someone else than accepting the responsibility

Why would we bother doing all that tricky self-analysis and taking steps to fix a situation if we can just take the blame off our own shoulders and place it down on someone or something else?

5. People lie

You may figure that no one will know it was really you who spilled coffee all over the break room, so you just blame someone else who’s not there (and hope that person never finds out).

6. To protect your ego

Now we know on a high level why people blame. What will happen when we actively engage in the Blame game

Your personal growth :

Your personal growth will be hindered, blame is a defense game, and the more you play this game it becomes a part of you. You will stop learning and will shut yourself in a cocoon.

You are actually not powerful:

If everything is everyone else fault then that means you don’t have the power to change that or you are not using your power wisely.

You will become less empathetic

If you blame to avoid the consequences or accountability, then you are not feeling for others. Which makes your relationships weaker.

Blame is contagious

If you blame people around you then they will blame you and others in the groups. This will lead to a team without any trust and you won’t be able to drive results.

Unlike other games, the more often you play the blame game, the more you lose. So before you start the game beware that you are going to enter a game that you will never win and will drain all your energy and personality out from you.

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