Know your Achiever Style - the key to work satisfaction

Understanding your personal Achiever Style enables you to make strong informed choices about the way you want to work and gives you the greatest chance of job satisfaction.

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All options are open when it comes to work. You can work for yourself, go for a well paid corporate job, opt for something predictable so you have energy and money for private life, focus on your values and go for public service, take a risk and move to a completely new area of work, retrain at any age….. the variables are myriad. Which is great on one hand and totally confusing on the other.

And this is your life we’re talking about. You spend so long at work, it’s important to make sure you get the payoff you want – money or otherwise. 

So how do you decide what to do?

First, you need to understand your Achiever Style. Getting caught in work that requires a different Achiever Style to your own is the most miserable experience. It can be frustrating, scary, debilitating. You just feel as if you’ve landed on Mars without the information you need to survive. But when you successfully match your work to your personal style, you will feel as if you’ve come home.

When researching my book The Psychology of Success, I met with a wide range of people working in a variety of ways. Through my conversations it became clear that our different comfort boundaries determine whether we'll survive or thrive in any given work situation. There is no right or wrong and all the styles deliver something positive in every work situation. Each style also has familiar drawbacks, but if you know what they are you can take action as soon as it's needed.

From my research, I outlined three different Achiever Styles:

STABLE ACHIEVER – you are a Stable Achiever if you prefer a steady working pace. You are happiest with predictable work and you like being well prepared. You make clear plans for the day and you work to complete them by the time you go home. And when you get home you want to switch off and get on with your life.

As a Stable Achiever you are a gift to any business. You thrive on ‘business as usual’ and you keep the wheels on the bus. That desire for predictability means people trust you to deliver as agreed. You enjoy work that repeats and are brilliant at working out processes and procedures that will make your job easier.

The risk: you can get rigid about how things should be done and sometimes you lose sight of the big picture by focusing on the task rather than the outcome.

You are extremely unlikely to set up on your own, but you could be the perfect person for an entrepreneur who struggles to keep the day to day going, whilst setting up and building a business. 

CONSISTENT ACHIEVER – you are generally an expert in your field. You have a real love of your subject and are willing to put in extra time and effort to learn and develop. You have an amazing ability to focus in and are often found in the building long after others have gone home because you want to crack an interesting problem.

You offer real value to a business through your determination and dedication. Whatever your chosen field, you will work hard to deliver quality outputs. As a result you often find yourself moving up the ladder and managing others, as well as continuing in the field that fires up your enthusiasm.

The risk: your success can take you away from your passion, so you end up in senior roles that are less suited to your style. You can also lose sight of the big picture through your laser focus and you might find it tough to work with those who have a different passion to your own.

As an expert you may well have the option to run your own business. If you decide to go down that route, get lots of advice about all the different aspects that will be required. Remember - you can only offer your expertise to others  if you can also sell your service or your product.

SERIAL ACHIEVER – as a Serial Cchiever you’re always looking for the next big idea. You hate being bored and long for novelty. Every question has at least three possible answers and you want to explore them all. Predictability in a job is the kiss of death for you. You’re keen to take responsibility and are ready to challenge others in order to find a new and better way to do things.

You work well in situations that are fluid and where leadership is needed and/or appreciated – whether through a designated leadership role or by picking up the baton when needed. You’re likely to set up your own business or have a career plan mapped out, inside or outside your existing workplace. A wise manager will provide regular challenge so you have to live on your wits. 

The risk: you might not spot when it's time to move on. You’re wonderful to work with when on a roll. When you’re frustrated and bored, you’ll be a nightmare! You are good at taking responsibility, but can sometimes forget to think of your own best interests. It is for you to make the opportunities – don’t wait for others to offer.

Everyone can be a star in the right job. 

Getting the work that fits with your Achiever Style is the key to finding that right place. That and knowing your Core Talent

 If it’s not obvious to you by now:

  • Pay attention to how you feel about your present work and match against the descriptions above
  • Talk with your friends and colleagues and find out where they would put you.
  • Review the work you’ve done to date and consider where you have been at your happiest. See what that tells you about your Achiever Style.

Once you know your style, you can measure any opportunity against that. However good something sounds, if it needs a different Achiever Style you won't be happy, so pull back and keep looking. You will soon find the work that will show you up for the star you really are! 

Post your questions in the comments section below, ask us on the Psychologies Facebook and Twitter page or email I’ll be posting regularly, answering your questions.

Judith Leary Joyce

Great Companies Consulting

In 1996 I made the shift into business, taking my knowledge of Gestalt Psychology into the realm of Executive Coaching, Facilitation and Leadership/ Management Development. In 2001 I worked on the 100 Best Companies to Work For list, then went on to write my first book Becoming an Employer of Choice which was followed by Inspirational Manager and The Psychology of Success. Since then I have worked with organisations across the sectors from large corporates through to young start ups, public sector and charities. Now it’s time to help you have a love affair with your work and get exactly what you want from your career. To find out more about my work and coaching go to


Go to the profile of Suzy Walker
over 4 years ago

What an interesting post. Thanks so much. I am going to send this to our team here at Psychologies. x

Go to the profile of Judith Leary Joyce
over 4 years ago

Thanks Suzy - hope the team find it useful!