Drivers: How to spot one and what to do about it

Drivers_HighResLearning about Business Chemistry is interesting (and fun!), but its real value lies in applying it to strengthen your relationships with others. This post is the first of four that address how to know each type when you see it, and what to do about it.


Spotting a Driver

Driver motto: And your point is…?

The most defining characteristic of the Driver is their technical and quantitative orientation. This may take the form of an expertise in math, engineering, mechanics, technology, or even music. If you have very little to go on, these are pretty good clues that someone is a Driver.

The Driver type is also strongly characterized by a direct style, a logical approach, a competitive streak, and a willingness to make tough decisions. Drivers are likely to take charge and enjoy experimentation, and often prioritize goals over relationships.

When it comes to decision-making, Drivers value a strong analysis backed up by logic and facts. They’re good at synthesizing and will look for patterns in complex data. They’ll willingly take a risk, but only after consideration. Once they’ve made their decision, they’re not likely to change their minds.

Tips for Working with a Driver

Drivers are attracted to both competence and confidence. Make sure you know what you’re talking about, and then don’t be afraid to strut your stuff a little bit. At the same time, don’t carry on too long–Drivers appreciate you getting to the point, and doing so quickly. If you want to keep a Driver’s attention, be careful to avoid excessive small talk, indirectness, and indecisiveness.

Working effectively across types requires some flexing. Just how you need to flex depends on your own type. Here are some type-specific tips:

If you’re a Pioneer, your naturally bold and quick thinking is likely to engage a Driver. Go ahead and bring your out-of-the-box ideas; Drivers like to explore too. And feel free to spar a little, you’re both likely to thrive on it. But don’t lose sight of logic or practicality. Pie-in-the-sky isn’t going to work here and ill-considered risks will likely not be embraced.

If you’re a Guardian, start with the punchline. Drivers appreciate logic, data, and analysis just like you do, but you’ll lose a Driver’s attention if you try to take them through your full thought-process. Come prepared with the facts, but once they’ve gotten the point, stop talking.

If you’re an Integrator, you may have the biggest challenge as your style is quite different from the Driver’s. Luckily, you are likely to be skilled at relationship-building! And you can be a great complement to a Driver, offering support in areas that are less natural for them, like navigating politics, or that they see as less essential, like working toward consensus. At the same time, you may need to speed up your normally prolonged decision-making process–Drivers appreciate quick decisions. And you may possibly need to grow a thicker skin, as a Driver is unlikely to be overly concerned about, or even aware of, whether you’re taking their directness personally.

If you’re a Driver yourself, you may think working with a like-type colleague will be a piece of cake, and it will probably feel easy in many respects. But you may also find yourself in a power-struggle, as you’re both likely to prefer being in charge. Further, your similar perspectives can get the two of you into trouble if left on your own. Make sure you don’t have tunnel vision and aren’t ignoring context or the people-implications of your actions.

Drivers out there, any other advice?

Read the other posts in this series, about Pioneers, Integrators, and Guardians. Subscribe to make sure you don’t future posts!

Dr. Suz

Suzanne Vickberg, PhD (aka Dr. Suz)
Dr. Suz is the LCC’s very own social-personality psychologist, which means she studies how people’s thoughts, behaviors and preferences are influenced by both who they are and the situations they’re in. She uses Business Chemistry to help teams explore how the mix of perspectives brought by their individual members influences their work together. Follow her on Twitter @DrSuzBizChem

This publication contains general information only, and none of the member firms of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, its member firms, or their related entities (collective, the “Deloitte Network”) is, by means of this publication, rendering professional advice or services. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional adviser. No entity in the Deloitte Network shall be responsible for any loss whatsoever sustained by any person who relies on this publication.
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