Almost 60 Percent of Employees Primarily Strive for Power

Almost 60 percent of employees primarily aspire to power. “Leaders need to deal with this more consciously.”

The desire for influence and autonomy is what drives nearly 60 percent of people in the professional environment the most. Other motives such as performance or the desire for community, on the other hand, are less pronounced. This was the result of an exclusive scientific analysis conducted by the PAWLIK Group under the direction of psychology professor David Scheffer.

As part of the PAWLIK personnel Diagnostics, David Scheffer, Head of Science at the PAWLIK Group, evaluated anonymized results of the so-called “scan procedure” from 7,031 managers and employees in the period from 2014 and 2021. The core result: 57 percent of the participants are dominated by the power motive. The achievement motive predominates in 28 percent, while the affiliation motive is only present in 12 percent.

According to Joachim Pawlik, CEO of the PAWLIK Group, it is fundamentally important to recognize the inner driving forces for successful careers and tailor-made leadership: “Leaders must deal more consciously with the desire for power.”

Power Motive Is Suppressed for a Long Time

According to Professor Scheffer’s research, only about half of people know what gives them power. This misjudgment of motives leads to misunderstandings and dissatisfaction. “When companies identify the unconscious motives of their employees and tailor leadership to them, people flourish in their jobs and teams work better together,” says Scheffer. The proven dominance of the power motive presents a particular challenge because most people do not openly admit their desire for power and influence.

Power-motivated people strive to make their own decisions, take the lead in projects and control others. This behavior can intimidate achievement-motivated individuals who prefer to handle more complex tasks and affiliation-motivated individuals who long for cooperation. Power-motivated people often feel constrained in the rigid hierarchies of the “old work world.” They have too little decision-making authority and cannot fully realize their potential unless they are at the top.

Even then, there are often problems, as Joachim Pawlik knows from his experience as a consultant to executives. In 25 years of consulting, he has repeatedly observed how power corrupts the behavior of those who receive it: “The desire for power is sosocially discredited that many people suppress it until they have reached the top of the career ladder.” Those who then live it out uncontrollably lose the support of their environment without realizing it. “Many have failed because of their power,” says Pawlik.

Power Is Not Exclusively Male

The study also dispels the myth that men are more power-motivated than women. Regarding the unconscious power motive, there is hardly any difference between men and women. . “With a few exceptions, our analysis has shown that women are just as determined in implementing their own ideas as men,” Scheffer clarifies.

About the PAWLIK Group

The PAWLIK Group is a leading company in Europe when it comes to the sustainable implementation of strategies. We put people at the center of all measures. The group offers personnel and organizational development, personnel consulting, and digital consulting. The company was founded in 1996 by Joachim Pawlik in Hamburg, Germany. With over 300 experienced consultants and employees at 15 international locations, PAWLIK Group supports clients worldwide with their challenges. The PAWLIK Group is constantly expanding its range of services for digital change through ventures and investments in innovative service providers. The consulting approach is integrative, systemic, and focused on implementation.

PAWLIK Personnel Diagnostics

PAWLIK Personell Diagnostics works in particular with the procedures of scan.up AG, which is a PAWLIK Group company. It has been advising clients on personnel and aptitude diagnostics for more than 20 years. It provides support in the selection of suitable candidates and helps with the targeted further development of personal and professional skills. To this end, it offers scan.up AG’s specially developed potential analysis, which records up to 120 personality factors of an individual. The process is based on the scientific findings of Prof. Julius Kuhl, one of the world’s most renowned personality researchers.



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