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One of the mysteries of the living is the fact that we live and work in a world of people all of whom have different personalities. Some people are driven, some are structured. Some are the life of the party, while others are the best friend you haven’t met.

Many years ago, I was introduced to tools that are used to assess different types of personalities. These tools provided assistance with how to interact with people who had a different personality than I did. As a manager, and later as a consultant, this understanding of different personality styles allowed me a head start when dealing with people.

This article will discuss one of the four behavioral styles that are part of the DISC system. While there are other tools that measure similar things, I have learned that the DISC system is both easy to understand and extremely helpful when meeting and forming relationships with people.

Drivers are perhaps the easiest behavioral style to spot but possibly the most difficult to lead or work for. If you are married to one, your life will likely always be interesting.

Drivers can be described as directing and dominant. In a leadership role, they are unafraid, demanding, aggressive and decisive. They enjoy competition and are tough, rough and direct. They aim to succeed at everything they try. They love the thrill of victory, but also experience the agony of defeat.

You never need to guess what they think. They are not diplomats or politicians. They say what is on their mind, often without thought or filters. Since they speak their mind, don’t take it personally or be thin-skinned.

They communicate quickly, often without explanations. They are direct and to the point and often much too blunt. They speak their mind, but don’t hold a grudge. After they have given their opinion they tend to forget about it as they move on to the next task, looking for results.

They focus on getting things done, often ignoring the details. They like challenges and new tasks. They need help picking up the pieces as they move onto the next mountain. Stand back when they have a goal, don’t get in their way. They are often on their way to achieve something great.

Famous drivers include Michael Jordan, Barbara Walters, General Patton, Mark Cuban, Madonna, Vince Lombardi, Donald Trump, and Captain Kirk from Star Trek.

By now you likely recognize several people in your life who are drivers. Perhaps you work for one or are married to one. Perhaps you have drivers working for you, or you have a child or a friend who is a driver.

Knowing that they are a driver, or have a driven personality as part of their style, allows you manage, lead, and work better with them. Understanding how they are “wired” provides you with a leg up on learning to work with them effectively.

The rest of this article will focus on the tools you can use to interact effectively with drivers.

Communicating with drivers is difficult because of the premium they put on time and on getting a return on their time. Drivers are direct and to the point. They say what they are thinking, often without much thought. They see interruptions and long discussions as keeping them from getting things done.

When you want to discuss something with them, it is best to not interrupt them when they are focused on completing a task. Drivers can focus intently for a period of time but ultimately need to take periodic breaks because they are inherently restless. Thus, take advantage of these breaks to discuss things with them. Ask for their full attention for five to ten minutes and say your piece.

Drivers can also juggle many things at one time, but they may lose interest in a project if the challenge ceases. They are usually interested in a variety of topics and often have a wide range of interests. They will likely try their hand at anything.

With regard to their role on a team, drivers initiate action, focus the team on its goals, are forward looking, and place a high value on time. They look for efficiencies, are innovative, and challenge the status quo.

Finally, let’s discuss what you can do to work effectively with drivers and get along with them.

On a team, it is important that they understand the rules and their role on the team. Ask them to initiate activity and take on challenging assignments. Make sure they are committed to the team’s goal by meeting with them one-on-one. But make sure the meeting is focused on what they need to do and omits non-relevant discussion.

Make sure they understand the benefits of working with a team. Show them the benefit of treating people effectively. If there is a disagreement, confront them about it face-to-face. Help them learn to pace themselves and to relax. Make sure they manage their emotions so that their intensity doesn’t overwhelm other team members.

Even if they don’t think they do, drivers need people around them with different personality styles. They need help with structure and detail. They need to be encouraged to persevere when they hit obstacles and want to try something else. Sometimes, they need to be slowed down so the rest of the team can catch up or to make sure important steps have not been missed.

Drivers – more than any other personality style – are often easy to spot. Hopefully this article has allowed you to understand them more effectively. And hopefully by understanding their strengths and weaknesses you will be able to work with them better and relate to them without being put off.
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