Author’s Note: When assessing teams and individual talents, one of the profiling tools we used is The Inventory for Work Attitude & Motivation, or better known as iWAM. With the tool, we can measure your people across 48 competencies, and over this series of articles, we will be exploring deeper into each of the different sets. And because it’s easier to reference them against their behavior, we will create fictional characters for each different competency sets. By fictional, do know that they do not reflect anyone in the real world. After all, the focus is their behavior and the psychology behind it, rather than the person themselves. The aim is so you can understand your team members and leaders better, what makes them do the things they do, and from that understanding, develop better work relationships.

Here’s a quick snapshot of Richard, someone who’s motivated by Goals

  • Likes to set targets and has amazing drive in hitting them
  • Likes to be reminded of goals, targets and milestones, and you’d often seen his targets being plastered all over their cubicles
  • Richard expects others to be driven by the same goals as he is
  • “Goal setting is a must”, would be what he constantly say

Team members like Richard on your team are driven by goals. There’s no other better way to say this, but dangle the right carrot in front of him, and watch him “zoom” towards it. If you have someone like Richard on your team, as a leader, your job is usually simple – just sit them down, map out milestones and KPI, give them targets and deadlines, and “unleash” them.

Supervision is minimal, although you will have to check in periodically on their progress and direction. Because Richard is so focused on hitting goals, sometimes he will use his momentum to power through, ignoring mistakes and learning points.

Coaching someone like Richard is easy, as long as you know his primary “language” is all about goals. Ask him questions like:

  • What is the one thing you can do to help you achieve your goals easier?
  • How can help you hit those targets?
  • Is there a way you can hit the same goals but in a lesser time?

However, just because he is someone that’s goal orientated, that doesn’t mean you need to have “moving goalposts”. It may work for a while, but do know that that form of manipulation may eventually wear him out. Instead, try to have staggered, or stepped, rewards, where additional bonuses and given when they achieve more than what they are supposed to. This way, they are comfortable hitting their baseline goals, and if they feel like it, they will put in more effort to reach the next tier.


Here’s a quick snapshot of Zara, someone who’s motivated by Problem Solving

  • She is usually the quickest to discover potential problems in any plans, catching them before they become worse.
  • Excellent troubleshooter, she can see problems a few steps ahead.
  • Can be mistakenly regarded as “negative” by the rest of the team, because Zara someone who sees problems most of the time
  • She may create unnecessary problems to solve, when she has solved all existing problems

A total opposite of Richard, Zara is motivated by pain. Not that she’s a sadist, but when she sees problems, she will lighten up, happy that she has something to work on.

As a matter of fact, in everything she sees and observes, in her mind, she would have identified a dozen ways things that could go wrong. This sometimes may make her the “killjoy” of your team, especially during brainstorming. Imagine the rest of the team excitedly coming up with new product ideas, and Zara is shooting them down one by one.

One way to work with Zara, without disregarding her obvious strength, is to have her come up few two or three potential solutions the moment she identified the problems. This capitalizes on her natural problem-solving skills to troubleshoot any business plan, and the later bit will ground her to provide solutions to those problems, rather than just pointing out the issues.

As a leader, perhaps a good way to position your Zaras is to keep them out of the brainstorming sessions first, so they won’t throw in wrenches in the ideas too early. The key to brainstorming is to generate options, and it’s better to have a bunch of them before introducing them to team members like Zara, to refine the strategies and execution.

If you look at your team, can you identify the Richards and Zaras in your team? Which are the go-getters and who are the troubleshooters? They can work really while, if you know how to leverage their natural strengths to the favor of the team, and the company.

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