Motivational Styles

don't ask why. ask why not.

Motivational Styles

Watching the presidential debates, one can easily mute the sound and just watch body language. Their expressions say it all. They want to win.


It is clear that both candidates are motivated by the same thing – the same thing we all are motivated by, as psychologist Dr. Elias Porter found: to feel good. What makes us feel good is different for each of us. For some, it’s to win the office of the presidency, for others, it’s to know that we have a positive impact on others. However, each of us approach this goal differently and are motivated by different things. Understanding how others are motivated to feel good helps us to have a greater understanding of what lies behind their behaviors and thereby, help us to communicate with them better. Rather than misinterpreting comments and behaviors, once we know what drives others, we can tailor our message accordingly and hopefully, hit the mark more often than miss it.

While there are multiple motivational styles, these highlight the most common ones which most fall under:

1. Goal-oriented
Getting things done quickly, direct, organized. Competitive, driven, quick.

2. Social
Helping others, caring, considerate. Harmony, empathy, team-oriented.

3. Learner
Doing and learning for knowledge sake, exploring. Questioning, investigating, challenging.

4. Process-oriented
Achieving order and meaning, methodical, logical. Data-driven, needing time, objective.

5. Combination
We may have a blend of two or more of these styles. While we may use all styles in different situations, we have one (or a combination) that we naturally prefer.