An implicit incentive for achievement is related to business performance, particularly in entrepreneurial or sales positions. However, an incentive for accomplishment is not correlated with political success; tacit motivation for power also predicts political success. Loss of control could be a crucial contrast between business and politics. But then, what motivates a political leader to lead amid a crisis?
In politics, success appears to be predicted by the desire for power rather than the incentive for achievement. In the US, the enticement scores for presidential strength are strongly linked to historians’ ratings of presidential grandeur and the making of great decisions. Presidential charisma is also favourably correlated with the desire for influence and negatively related to motivation for accomplishment. Achievement-motivated presidents are slightly weaker in terms of political ability and emotional intelligence. Besides, presidents inspired by motivation should not lack vision and determination. There exists an active-negative trend in which the president aggressively tries to do something, but gets dissatisfied, dislikes the task, and ends up defeating himself.
Achievement-motivated elected leaders react in different ways to the frustrations of political life. By micromanaging every component of the decision, certain politicians aim to re-establish the dominance of the democratic process. Some try, sometimes, by talking to “the people” to go above the heads of their legislative antagonists. In politics, neither of these methods is likely to succeed; at the same time, each may significantly impact the representative’s physical or mental health and the democratic process and morals of the individual.
Achievement-motivated elected officials respond to the frustrations of political life in various ways. Some lawmakers seek to re-establish control of the political process by micromanaging any part of the decision. Some threaten to go over the heads of their legislative antagonists, often by referring to the public. Neither of these approaches is likely to prevail in politics; simultaneously, both can significantly impact the representative’s physical or mental health and the individual’s political process and morality. To contend with complex political challenges, power-motivated presidents also develop particular strategies. This encouraged subordinates to fight for his support and restore the operation’s charge to him as the sole judge of any measure.
Harry Truman, for instance, shifted the course of US foreign policy during World War II by drawing significant figures from the opposing Republican Party into a bipartisan consensus.
Many contemporary world leaders with economic training and business history (presumably high in incentive for achievement) who have become frustrated with politics have sought to short-circuit the democratic process by repressive behaviour, frequently using their authority to control the press, cripple the opposition and direct the economic growth of their country. For instance, before Thaksin Shinawatra (a telecommunications tycoon turned Thailand’s prime minister) was forced out of power in a 2006 coup, in prototypical accomplishment imagery, he articulated his view of politics: “Democracy is not the end by itself, but it is the means to an end. Democracy is an excellent political system, but you should not regard Democracy as the end. The end should be the improving livelihood of your people.” This approach undermined Thailand’s democratic institutions and created an authoritarian state.
For elected leaders, the increase in motivation for success declines dramatically if the motivation for influence is also high. This is presumably because individuals who are strongly motivated by power will take satisfaction from the same facets of the democratic process that are so exhausting for politicians who are motivated by achievement: cooperation, consensus, and bargaining; forming relationships and aggregating interests; using prestige, fines, and threats judiciously; and even violence. In metaphorical words, control is a game that often requires multiple players’ reciprocal positioning in dynamic fields of force. No one player has it underhand. Achievement, in contrast, is like a track meet with each runner competing only against the clock so that the resulting performance is mainly under the control of the individual runner.
The empirical analysis in which leaders’ motivations are evaluated at a distance has found that leaders scoring high in power motivation appear violent and engage their countries in battle. In contrast, leaders are more cooperative with high association imagery. Several experiments have also found that power motive imagery, calculated by content analysis of human or group verbal messages, is measured by content analysis.
Power motivation is associated with sympathetic nervous system arousal at the physiological level, indicating that it may be the cognitive-motivational superstructure of the “fight-or-flight” system of actions embedded in primordial human adaptations.
The passages relating to Mexico (the “war” crisis) were slightly higher in power motive imagery. They were lowered in association motive imagery (though not significantly) than the passages relating to Oregon (the peacefully settled crisis). Power motive imagery is distinctly and frequently correlated with conflict consequences through various forms of turmoil, political figures, and documents. Conflicts are likely to intensify when power imagery is elevated or rising. In comparison, motivational imagery of association appears to be associated with harmony. Conflicts are most likely to be settled peacefully while high or rising.
The Zimbabwe nationalist struggle can be explained by the high allegiance imagery and comparatively low power imagery ratings of the four Zimbabwe nationalist leaders. The previous score shows an environment of mistrust and defensiveness, stress-leading specifically to the sort of partnerships and recriminations that have arisen that have changed. The above score may help to understand why one leader emerged as preeminent just many years after the beginning of the revolution, at the point of power transition.
This contrasts somewhat with the five heads of the front-line state profile and more sharply with South Africa’s black nationalist leaders, who present the predicted high-power motive imagery score. The homeland leaders’ high motive for success and low power motive ratings tends to be associated with their pragmatic avoidance of high risks.
The drive for success is related to playing the game inside the system rather than protesting against the system under political and social injustice conditions.
Based on how respectful, friendly, and welcoming they consider others to be, individuals high in affiliate imagery may be both warm and friendly or otherwise prickly and protective. Because the affiliate signals so heavily condition their conduct, they can seem erratic and unstable. People with high-power motive imagery scores can arouse others’ thoughts, energy, and behaviour. However, viewed from a somewhat different angle, they are aggressive, dangerous, and exploitative.
By Krishna Athal, Executive Director of YUVA