8 Career Anchors: What Matters Most


More than 30 years ago, Edgar Schein, a Sloan Fellows Professor of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proposed that people are primarily motivated by one of eight career anchors:

1. Technical/functional competence
2. General managerial competence
3. Autonomy/independence
4. Security/stability
5. Entrepreneurial creativity
6. Sense of service
7. Pure challenge
8. Freedom to organize themselves around their private lives

Once you understand each career anchor, you can determine the one that best fits each person on your team (or ask employees to help define what’s most important to them).

Ultimately, the people who work for you must communicate what matters most to them, and you, as the manager, must continually ask for this information.

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