McClelland’s Needs and Mine

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The three need theory of David McClelland tries to explain why people behave the way they do. The theory basically says that individual’s are motivated to work because they have to satisfy their needs for achievement, affiliation and power (Bateman & Snell, 2007). Applying this theory to myself, I found that as a person I have a high need for achievement and a low need for personal power.

As far as I can remember, my life had been fueled by the need to achieve. Everything to me is a challenge that I can conquer and accomplish. Success for me is when at the end of the day, I have finished what I set out to do for the day. Naturally, I am a workaholic, and I need to get things done in the best way and in the most efficient way. As a manager, I would prefer to work with people who think like me, and whom I know are the best in what they do. I also would like to constantly monitor how things are doing or what is the status of the project since I have to make sure that it is accomplished.

I believe that I have a low need for affiliation. I am an achiever and most achievers prefer to work alone or with people who are also achievers. And with my drive to get things done, I may be harsh and insensitive to the feelings of other people. As a manager, I may be perceived as stiff, cold and uncommunicative. But I don’t really much care about other people’s perceptions of me, just as long as the work gets done. In reality, I know that this is not a positive aspect of my life.  I should be able to overcome this if I want to be an effective manager. For most successful leaders have positive interpersonal relationships with his/her subordinates.

The theory has offered me a new understanding of myself and in an objective way, I was able to evaluate the motivating factors in my life. I am glad that I did.


  1. Bateman, T.S., & Snell, S. A., (2007). Management: Leading and collaborating in a competitive world 7th ed. McGraw-Hill/Irwin

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McClelland’s Needs and Mine. (2016, Jul 31). Retrieved from

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