Managing Someone with High Motivation/Drive

by | Dec 28, 2022 | Hiring Tips, Prescreening | 0 comments

By Mara Miller

Great managers understand their employees’ different personalities and know what motivates them – manage people in ways they can thrive. The IdealTraits assessment helps you understand the personality traits of your teams. By building a team based on the personality results, you are creating a more positive and productive work environment that is supportive for all employees as it aids in a positive outlook, collaboration, and productivity.

What is Motivation/Drive?

In the performance index in the IdealTraits assessments, “Motivation/Drive” measures how someone makes decisions. It determines how they respond to successes and problems, evaluates how assertive or passive someone is around them, assesses how goal or result-oriented they are, and gauges how quickly they anger.

The “Motivation/Drive” portrayed in the IdealTraits assessment should not be confused with laziness or lack of energy.

Someone with high Motivation/Drive can be described as a “natural leader.” They want to be in a position of control where they can make decisions. Results and solutions drive them. Others may view them as impatient, rude, and quick to judge.

High Motivation/Drive Personality Traits:

Positive Traits / Strengths:

An individual with high Motivation/Drive personality traits can make quick decisions and solve problems. They can get to the nitty-gritty of an issue by drawing people out through creative questions. Their drive focuses on results and solutions to problems. They like to create a business-like atmosphere that is formal, innovative, and highly productive. They don’t like to waste their time, especially on things that could interfere with the bottom-line results.

In the workplace, their communication style with others is to relay information firmly. They provide workflows that don’t include “unnecessary” details. They are concise and to the point while coming across as realistic. They motivate the people around them by pushing them toward success and directing them with clarity and precision. While at the same time, they express a desire for independence to feel in control of their personal development.

Growth Areas / Areas that Need Support:

Due to their need to be in control and be the “problem solver,” they tend to stop short of asking for help from others. They want a solution “now” instead of “later.” With this strategy, details can be omitted or forgotten. Or worse, they may not fully grasp the entirety of the situation due to their sense of urgency on top of their lack of listening skills.

Although they want to be the leader and delegate responsibilities, they can become impatient with providing details or instructions and answering questions. They can quickly criticize others, especially if they are not moving as fast as they are. They tend to cause stress in others for no reason other than they want it “now.” They dislike repetition and routine and can look unfavorably toward others if the subject is pushed. They may attempt too much at one time, hoping to see quick results. They struggle with listening and can jump to conclusions or misjudge a situation or person.

Motivated By:

They are motivated by being the ones to take charge of a project and finish it quickly. They want to be able to see tangible results related to performance measurement and milestones. They find this useful for tracking their progress. They are always eager to participate in competitions or scenarios where their hard work is showcased. They want to be given the freedom to make decisions and take risks. By allowing this freedom to be independent, you are showing you are confident and trusting in their skills.


Individuals with high Motivation/Drive often seem in control and have a high level of confidence. However, this isn’t always true. They have a great need to be in control. When this lack of confidence or control happens, they can become stressed, especially if they feel others can sense they are no longer in control. Their perspective of the world becomes more hostile.

They do not enjoy taking time out of their busy days to talk about their feelings or someone else’s. They tend to push their thoughts and ideas onto others, so when they need to listen and pay attention to others’ ideas they do not believe in or are vested in, it can cause them to feel as though they are wasting their time and no longer look at them as favorable.

Another way they will feel stress is if they are made to follow strict rules or processes with little to no wiggle room. They like the freedom to make decisions and having their “hands tied” can cause frustration which may cause them to lash out. This may then lead to them not being able to achieve individual accomplishments.

Signs they are under strain or pressure are they may lash out in anger, blame others, start making demands, stop listening or dismiss what others have said/done.

Ideal Environment:

They like to focus on the future and long-term ideas. Although they understand their job has some routine tasks, they prefer to be challenged in their work. They are motivated by projects that produce physical, trackable, or tangible results. They want to be free from controls and supervision, yet they crave recognition and rewards for good work. They want the independence of being able to make decisions and take risks: ask for forgiveness later rather than seek permission now.


When communicating, be straightforward and confident with an individual with high Motivation/Drive. Focus on results, not the methods to get there. Small talk is not needed. Talk about business matters. Do not be too detailed or you will lose their interest and they will become impatient. Meetings should be brief and scheduled only when necessary. Emails should be professional and to the point. Feedback should be brief and delivered with confidence. Focus on what is important.

Benefits to a Team:

They have a heightened sense of urgency to get things done and are generally quick to make decisions. They’re focused on tasks that will help the team meet company goals. They don’t fear challenging situations if it means achieving success. They rise to the top during crises. They provide direction. They achieve their goals swiftly and get tangible results. They usually try to stay optimistic but may perceive others as difficult if they don’t see eye to eye. They are great for when you’re under pressure and able to handle any new tasks that come up.


Individuals with high Motivation/Drive desire power and control. Therefore, the idea of not having them causes fears of showing weakness (physically, emotionally, mentally), loss of power (not being able to influence others), failure (will do whatever they can do prevent it: smooth-talker to challenge authority), and being taken advantage of by others (someone else gets the upper hand).

Management Tips:

Consider the management tips below when managing someone with high Motivation/Drive.

  • They are naturally inclined to want to take control of situations, especially if they feel they have a solution. It may not matter to them if they are right or wrong if the end justifies the means. They may ignore someone in authority to accomplish what they set out to do. Consider setting boundaries from the beginning on the “chain of command.” Consider making sure to hold them accountable. You do not want them to walk all over you.
  • Consider providing goals and expectations from the beginning. Discuss a career path with them. Keep them accountable when they fall short. Give them praise and recognition when they come through.
  • They can be good at quick decision-making. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the decision will be good. They may not look to others for their input or guidance believing that they know what is best. Consider coaching them on making an informed decision, especially if it involves other people.
  • They live by the motto of “Do it now” and put that sense of urgency onto others. However, this can cause undue stress on others. They tend to judge others that cannot keep up and see them as unfavorable team members or people that can be replaced to better fit their needs without considering what they are bringing to the table. This is especially true of those that are more detail-oriented or need more time to consider facts before making a decision. Consider reminding someone with high Motivation/Drive to be considerate of others and to slow their pace for others. They do not need to slow it down to the detriment of the goals but practice patience and empathy. Also, encourage them to take a break if they feel frustrated, instead of displaying their impatience for others to see.
  • They need a professional, business-like environment that allows them some degree of decision-making in their role. Although they should understand that there are rules and boundaries in the workplace, they will not flourish if “micromanaged”. If they are in this environment, it can lead to low morale, lack of motivation, struggle with time management, and absenteeism.
  • Be direct, to the point, and brief. Concentrate on results and ways to achieve goals, not reasons why something won’t work. Give them the chance to see. Emphasize business topics. They don’t need small talk. Be confident and focus on problem-solving.
  • Do not emphasize problems or be too detailed. They are big-picture thinkers and may stop listening or even avoid conversations with you altogether. Speak confidently. Avoid repeating yourself. Don’t make generalizations or statements without support. Be specific.
  • If assessing them for an outbound sales position, check their Motivation/Drive. It is recommended the numbers be 60 and above. Consider providing them with coaching and training to keep them motivated, engaged, and on track.

Combination of Personality Traits:

Everyone has a blend of personality traits. Below are examples of how high Motivation/Drive can be affected when combined with other personality traits.

High Persuasiveness/Convincing & high Motivation/Drive: Clear goals in life with the determination and commitment to achieve them. Seek to maintain a position of control while being genuinely liked.

High Structure/Routine & high Motivation/Drive: Keep a more rapid pace while being routine-oriented.

High Thorough/Compliant & high Motivation/Drive: Formal and structured with a forceful and blunt style. Believes in getting things right and will state their mind robustly and directly.

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