Ruth Malloy: The Many Facets of Achievement

Achievement Orientation

S3E4 Ruth Malloy: The Many Facets of Achievement

May 3, 2022

On this episode of First Person Plural, Ruth Malloy gives an insightful look into how leaders arouse the achievement motivation in others through feedback, affiliation and standards of excellence – and how that motivation can run amok. Focusing too much on achievement can diminish trust and erode morale.

Our Guests

Ruth Malloy

Ruth Malloy, Ph.D., is a leadership advisory consultant and Spencer Stuart’s global assessment solutions leader. She is based in Boston. For more than 25 years, Ruth has helped Fortune 500 companies, across multiple industries, achieve their strategic goals through the assessment, development and alignment of their leadership and talent. She brings deep expertise in executive assessment and succession, executive coaching, top team effectiveness and talent management.

Prior to joining Spencer Stuart, Ruth was the global managing director of the leadership and talent practice at Hay Group. She also served as Director of Research and Technology for the McClelland Center for Innovation, and started up Leadership and Talent Direct at Hay Group, which offered on-line assessments including the ESCI, development tools and accreditation programs for individual practitioners, executive coaches and clients.

She has published and presented on topics including women in leadership, motivation and leadership effectiveness. Ruth spoke at TEDx Fenway, presenting “From Leaning In to All In: What Organizations Can Do to Advance Women,” and co-authored “Leadership Run Amok: The Destructive Potential of Overachievers,” which was cited as one the most popular articles in Harvard Business Review (HBR) in 2006.

Ruth has a B.A. in psychology from Vassar College. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. from Boston University, under the mentorship of Dr. David McClelland.



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People Mentioned In Today’s Episode:

David McClelland

Dacher Keltner

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Episode Credits:

This show is brought to you by our co-hosts Daniel Goleman, Hanuman Goleman, and Elizabeth Solomon and is sponsored by Key Step Media, your source for personal and professional development materials focused on mindfulness leadership and emotional intelligence.

This episode of First Person Plural is brought to you by MEL Science, the fun way to learn real science.  MEL Science is a subscription service that offers monthly science boxes with hands-on experiments powered by virtual reality and augmented reality technology lessons to engage kids in studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (aka STEM). Designed for kids of different ages, from 5 to 16+, MEL Science is on a mission to break the stereotype that science is boring, difficult, or only for certain types of people. Each box is designed to make serious science accessible, with a different theme and clear instructions to make it easy for parents, kids, and teens to follow along. It’s education disguised as entertainment! Use promo code “EI60” to get a 60% discount for the first month of your new subscription. This limited-time offer ends on May 12th.

  • Special thanks to Kai who you heard at the top of the show in our “Small People, big voices,” segment.
  • This episode was written and produced by Elizabeth Solomon and Kerry Seed
  • Audio Production by Michele Zipkin.
  • Episode art and production support by Bryant Johnson.
  • Music includes Tiny Footsteps in the Snow by Bio Unit, Norma by Monplaisir and theme music by Amber Ojeda.


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