Human Behaviour- McClelland's Theory of Needs

McClelland’s Theory of needs, is one of the theories to know for PMP exam, apart from the exam this theory is very handy to manage your team. The needs of any human being can be broadly classified as:
1. Needs for Affiliation
2. Needs for Achievement
3. Needs for Power

Traits of the people with different needs

Needs for Affiliation

  • Want to be part of a group.  Doesn’t want to stand out(not to be noticeable)
  • Avoids conflict.  Wants to be liked, and will often go along with the group
  • Wants collaboration and avoids competition.
  • Wants to be in a comfortable zone and not comfortable with uncertainty or risk.

Needs for Achievement

  • Strong need to accomplish challenging goals.  Welcomes risks which accompanies challenging goals
  • Likes to receive feedback to enable progress and achievements
  • Motivated by appreciation

Needs for Power

  • Would like to control and influence others.Likes to receive feedback to enable progress and achievements
  • Favors competition and wins
  • Loves status and recognition

How to handle / manage individuals ?

Needs for Affiliation

  • Allocate a routine job which they are comfortable than allocating new tasks or challenging tasks.  They will be intimidated with new and challenging tasks
  • High praises in public makes them uncomfortable,  try to balance the appreciations. All the more, establish an environment of trust and relationship.

Needs for Achievement

  • Allocate new and challenges tasks.  Routine work is going to irritate this person and lose interest soon.
  • Provide regular feedback and appreciations, which is his tonic.

Needs for Power

  • Provide them the complete authority and responsibility and they are going to finish the job successfully
  • Regular feedback and appreciations motivates them and a healthy competitive environment is going to make them do wonders.


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