In the first two articles in this four part series we looked at how to manage people with the personality traits of analytical and then expressive people. These are two of four simple personality categories based upon those discussed in the book People Styles At Work by Robert and Dorothy Bolton.
In this article we look at people who display the characteristics of a driver personality.
Recognising A Driver Personality
As you can imagine driver personalities are people who drive themselves and others to reach stretching goals. You can see that their focus is more on the task than the feelings of the people around them.
They tend to make decisive movements, they walk fast and show authority by commanding the space around them. They ask direct questions and want direct answers. They usually like to be right and also to make their own decisions. This means that they can be quite challenging and means that you will have to be on the ball.
The key strengths of a typical driver personality are that they are focused on results and achievement and you can rely on them to get the job done. The downside or weakness of this particular personality is that they can upset people along the way and may make mistakes because they complete the task quickly. Having said this they are prepared to take risks and learn as they go along. They are less tolerant of people who are not like them.
Response Under Stress
Under pressure drivers may shout and show their temper in frustration. They may bully people and throw tantrums or make pot shots at people to get the task completed. In other words in their mind the ‘end justifies the means’ or method to get there.
Managing Someone With A Driver Personality
When managing a driver always be ready for a challenge. Be prepared to assertive yourself with them otherwise they will take advantage. When explaining something you want them to do, be brief, offer concepts not details. They like you to be focused and results orientated. They tend not to be interested in small talk and would prefer just get on with the task in hand. Most of the time, they like to be given a challenging project which they can control themselves. They like to be thrown ‘into the deep end’ and work it out for themselves.
Generally if you want something done quickly then give it to a driver. If you want to build teamwork and collaboration then you will be looking to give the task to one of the more people orientated personalities like the expressive or the amiable person.
If you need the driver to be more people orientated in a project they are leading, then you might set key performance indicators around the people elements and make this a condition of completing the task. Many drivers do learn to build these interpersonal skills into their tool kit for managing people. You will however notice that under extreme pressure they will revert to type to ensure deadlines are met.
One of the key skills to learn as a manager is to have flexibility of behaviour. This means adapting your management and leadership style to the person in front of you and the particular situation. Recognising someone’s personality traits and understanding what makes them tick will help you to manage them in a way they are likely to respond. If you are brave enough why not ask them, ‘How would you like to be managed?’ and then use what they tell you. You may be surprised at what you learn.
Look out for the fourth article in this series and if you need help understanding and managing your people, give us a call and we will help you find the best training or coaching programme to suit your needs.
Head of Training
Originally published: 4 April, 2013
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