Training Badge
Submitted by payten-sams on



I was wondering how to approach a direct who is High I, High D when he does his work safisfactorily, but never seems ambitious about it, and is openly pessimistic about deadlines. We work in a fast-paced, high volume environment and I am a high D and am motivated by responsibilities and deadlines. I am struggling with motivating him. When I ask about motivation and his goals he doesn't have anything to say about either. 



pucciot's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

He can only motivate himself.

1 - Listen to the PodCasts about High I



2 - Attitude is nothing - Results are everything. Give Feedback.


You will have to be very specific and give calm and matter of fact Feedback (no anger or frustration in your voice).
"When you miss your deadlines you set the whole team behind, can you do better next time?"

"When you miss your numbers, some of the team, feel like you aren't pulling your weight, do you think you can improve that ?"


Find out if there is somthing that a High I would like to do that could be a Carrot leading to better performance.
High I's love communicating to the team.
Maybe put them in charge of the Results Report and annoucing it at meetings.  Give them somthig to crow about.  They love to Crow.

Just find somthing that will keep them energized, even if it tangental to the "task" - a High I will be more motivated to do the boring stuff, if they can see that exciting team based stuff is just around the corner,.

Is there some kind of team building that needs to be done - delegate it to them.

Good Luck





Jollymom's picture

This is a good advice. Will take note of this.

Just a question, or clarification... Is a High I loves to be praise? So the approach is always on a good note? What if the message is a bit negative?

payten-sams's picture
Training Badge

Thanks TJ Puccio,

I have listened to the podcast on High I recently and they don't help me much as I tend to hear a lot of positivity and optimism for heading group efforts, but that is not the case with this direct. I have asked him what he enjoys about his job (task-specific) and if there are processes or projects he may be interersted in (I gave a few options that were available). I have asked him what his professional goals are and I always get the same answer. "I am content". He always points out what could go wrong when new tasks or hard deadlines are given/set, and although I have talked to him about how those comments affect the team's morale, he still has that mindset and shares those possible negative outcome with me when he gets the chance. 

He currently works with a High D who is pretty no nonsense and doesn't take any joy in conversing much while working; I am working to possibly get him working with another team (same position, but with a different team dynamic). I can handle people pointing out potential issues with a plan or goal, but not when it's the only thing they ever point out, especially when the majority of the time the critique isn't accurate. I do have to disagree that attitude does matter, it affects the team if one direct constantly has a negative attitude about work and it is felt through the body langauge or direct comments, but he has improved in that area by minimizing the complaints to his team and bringing them to me.

Thanks again for you advice, hopefully some of it can be applied!



G3's picture

I was just re-reading the original post, after I drafted the comments below. Payten...what is the question that you are asking?


If his performance is satisfactory, that sounds like a great start! But, yes, sure, asking for more results, is part of a Manager's job, according to Manager Tools. Manager Tools podcasts also say that some people are ok with where they are at and aren't seeking to move up the ladder or whatever. And that's ok. It just may not be a fit for some jobs or companies. I know some people who make a difference and are satisfactory at their jobs and they've had the same role for over a decade.

Have you rolled out One-on-One's, feedback, and coaching? Has your perspective on their performance been shared with them by using the feedback model and asking for change? Was it done so repeatedly (smaller sooner vs larger later) in a professionally loving manner? Back up a bit, if MT feedback is being used, was feedback rolled out over a length of time, starting with positive feedback? It sounds like they're not taking in the feedback and changing their behaviors.

HOWEVER, this comment looks like there IS progress! "he has improved in that area by minimizing the complaints to his team and bringing them to me."

So, perhaps the next step is giving coaching and positive feedback that encourages more enthusiastic behaviors. Catch them doing things right. Try the poker chip exercise. Start off the day with 10 poker chips in a pocket (could be paper clips or other small ojbects). Each time you give them positive feedback then move a poker chip to the other pocket. The goals is to have all of the chips in the other pocket, at the end of the day. Therefore, by continuing to build up the relationship with them they might be more receptive to more negative feedback and find ways to continue to change their behavior for the better.

Depending on what we are asking, we sometimes need to give our directs some room, and time, and frequent smaller feedback adjustments and they will make the changes.

Maybe this direct thinks they are being helpful by telling the Emperor that he is naked (when no one else will). Who knows, it's not our job to figure out what's in their hearts and minds. That's none of our business. Stick to observable behaviors (actions, words you use, how you say them, etc.).

I'm not you. You are the expert on you and the details of this situation. I don't know enough about all of the specifics. So, hopefully some of those MT based suggestions will help.

Maybe they would be more effective if they were paired with a different co-worker. Based on what you have wrote, their performance is satisfactory and they're making improvements in their behavior. That sounds good! 

pucciot's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

I am glad you listened to those podcasts.

You said : 
"He always points out what could go wrong when new tasks or hard deadlines are given/set, and although I have talked to him about how those comments affect the team's morale, he still has that mindset and shares those possible negative outcome with me when he gets the chance. "

Again you can't read his mind you can only address his behavior.

If he expresses doubts and concerns about deadlines to you, privately,  I'm sure that you can handle it.
Just say "Thank You" --- Breath in - Breath out - move on. 

If he keeps doing it in front of others he is eroding the team morale and openly questioning your judgement, because you set the deadline.

Give him feedback about his public behavior, that erodes the team and undermines your position.

Once a decision has been made, his job is to support you.

After a few Feedbacks about this if he doesn't change you need to do a "Systemic FeedBack".


I had a a direct once that constantly complained about his salary.  And made public comments and snide remarks about it.
Eventually, I told him he needed to stop, because it does _nothing_ to help Results or Relationship in our workplace.

It is bad for morale and is an open criticism of administration - which includes me. 
I consider it poor performacnce.

He said that my request was "censorship".  I let him know that when he is on the clock that he doesn’t get free speech, he is on company time and needs to do and say things that positively work towards the goals of the organization.

 It was a cold few weeks after that -- but he did stop it.

My point is, address the behavior and make it 100% clear that you consider it poor performance.
Yes, use those words.   Poor Performance.


* As for motivating him and making him excited about the work ---
You can't do that.  You have no idea what he is going through in his personal life.

Maybe something else is taking up his headspace and energy.

Maybe just getting by at work is the only thing that is keeping him steady and sane in his life.

Give him some grace on that.

Good Luck