This week we're covering the Need for Achievement (N-Ach), the third motivating need as identified by psychologist David McClelland. If you missed the Need for Power or the Need for Affiliation, click on the names to read the previous posts.
They don't need praise or recognition of a job well done. Most likely they prefer to work alone or with other high N-Ach people, with a high degree of independence. (They absolutely do not like micromanagers!)
They need constant, specific feedback for them to judge where they are in their progress of meeting their own goals. This feedback ultimately should include advancing up the corporate ladder, with appropriate raises and bonuses. But let me be clear: it's not about the money. It's the achievement of making more money, where the money becomes a symbol of their progress.
They might have too high of expectations of others, expecting them to be high N-Ach, as well, which could be problematic for them. They might think of people with low N-Ach as being slackers, content to get by with the bare minimum, or reckless cavaliers, choosing high-risk situations where failure would be not only unembarrassing, but also expected.
People with high N-Ach might have parents who encouraged independence in childhood and gave out praise and rewards for success. Positive feelings were associated with achievement (as well as the reverse), so that might help you with backstories.
Next week I'll wrap up this series with some suggestions of how you might best be able to determine what your character's deepest motivating factor is, and how to slam them up against their unstoppable force to create great tension in your novels!