Motivation and Personality
Written by Dave Gannaway
It is true that motivation and personality are very closely linked. When in vital interest of a subject very little extrinsic motivation is required. The subject naturally wants to know and do more simply because he is switched on and motivated from within. The things that naturally motivate him are likely to dominate the building of his personality.
A person with a passion for music is unlikely to need motivation to work or participate in activities involving music. Very likely they would throw themselves whole heartedly into such work and prove to be a valuable asset to an employer. The same person, however, forcefully directed to work mixing concrete on a construction site is unlikely to show the same enthusiasm, even if he was desperately in need of the money. His very personality would quickly reveal a mismatch for that work.
So motivation and personality can be closely linked. In the practical world the differences are often resolved quite naturally… A musician or an artist is very unlikely to be motivated to mix concrete so by natural selection and common sense there is not an issue. But, direct a musician or an artist to perform in a manner that did not appeal to them and a whole string of issues and tantrums are likely to surface; Issues that reflect the individual’s artistic preference and personality.
There are basically three broad traits that can link motivation and personality.
1. A need to express and excel in one’s individuality
2. To lead, to be in charge, to have power
3. To be safe and amongst friends
1. This category favors self expression. They like to demonstrate a personal expertise such as acting, painting, singing, being a comic, performing or creating music. This category would also include creative architects, designers and craftsmen within the commercial world.
2. Police, military personal, security staff and prison officers are candidates for this category. There can also be a connection here that reaches deeper in an individual’s personality. Past abuse or ill-treatment can be an underlying factor within this category that causes the individual to crave power over others. The spectrum is wide, as with all aspects of personality. This group can include referees, judges, and school masters, all able to express power over others.
3. This group is likely to be made up of reactive gentle people; they like to feel safe and to be liked. They are often anxious to please and to be understood … obliging, soft spoken, just perfect with customer service, counseling, secretaries or companions.
The above is of course a very broad view of how motivation and personality can interact. To an employer or party wishing to select an individual for a specific task or role I think the selection would, to a large degree be intuitively obvious, but not cast in stone.
The range within an individual personality can be very wide and varied, even diverse. For example, I had the pleasure of knowing a man through the prison system who was a hard spoken, sometimes violent and fearful character yet when he sat at a piano; he enchanted everyone with the magic expressed through his fingers. This is quite extraordinary and yet delightful but it does show that the nature of personality is infinitely varied and very much an individual phenomenon.
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