There are basically two types of people in the workplace—those motivated to do well by prevention and those motivated by promotion, writes Heidi Grant Halvorson, associate director of Columbia University’s Motivation Science Center.
For promotion-focused people, doing their jobs well is about the potential for advancement, achievement and rewards. It’s about what they might gain if they are successful.
For prevention-focused people, doing their jobs well is about security—about not losing everything they’ve worked so hard for. It’s about avoiding danger, fulfilling responsibilities and being someone people can count on.
Research shows these two types of people need different strategies to succeed, for example:
- Attitude. Promotion-focused people should embrace optimism. Prevention-focused people should embrace their doubts and avoid overconfidence.
- Decision-making. Promotion-focused people should focus on the pros and trust their instincts. Prevention-focused people should focus on the cons and pick the lesser of two evils.
- Problem-solving. Promotion-focused people should be creative and embrace alternative approaches. Prevention-focused people should pick a plan and stick to it.
— Adapted from “Cautious or courageous? Master your motivation to boost your career,” Heidi Grant Halvorson, CNN.
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