Toward vs. Away From Styles
This is the classic carrot vs. stick approach. People with a toward style are goal-oriented and are motivated by the pleasure they will get when they achieve a goal or reward. They want the carrot. Toward-oriented people know what they want and are willing to take risks to get it. They are the ones who sell the most widgets in order to win the trip to Paris. Many high achievers, managers, and leaders have a toward style. Because they may be motivated solely by achieving their goals, they may be less interested in the process of achieving the goal. Toward-oriented people can also be controlling and may dominate teams.
The away-from style is the opposite. They act to avoid the pain because they do not want the stick! Away-from oriented people do not respond well to goals, but rather act in order to avoid the consequences of not acting. They dislike problems and difficulties, know what they do not want, and will work to avoid it. They tend to be more cautions than toward-oriented people. However, they also find it harder to maintain motivation. With this style, as soon as the pain or threat is mitigated, they lose motivation and stop acting.
A toward person goes to the dentist because they want attractive healthy teeth. An away-from person goes to the dentist because they do not want cavities. A toward person wants to lose 25 pounds to look better and be healthier. An away-from person wants to lose 25 pounds so they will not have a heart attack or stroke. In each example, the results are the same, but the reasons for acting -- the motivation styles -- are very different.