Can you guess 5 ways to get what you want from a Driver?©

5 Ways to Get What You Want from a Driver, Faster©
by:  Lynda McNutt Foster

(Be sure to see if you, or your team, received a special High 5 at the bottom of this article)

CEO of Cortex Leadership & GoMontiIf you are familiar with the DISC assessment, you’ll remember that D stands for Driver (or Dominance).  People who score highest in this behavioral style are agenda driven, task oriented, tend to move at a faster pace, and like to win.  They focus on being efficient and tend to get frustrated if they think that something could be done more quickly and effectively to get to the goal they want to reach.

If you aren’t familiar with DISC, it’s a behavioral assessment that measures HOW you behave and your ability to interact effectively with others in work and life, as well as how you respond to challenges like problems, influencing others, the pace of the environment you are in, rules and procedures.  You can find out more here.

If you have to work with a Driver, or are in a relationship with one, these 5 things can help you communicate more effectively with a Driver which may save you a great deal of time and possibly, hurt feelings.

  1. BE DIRECT.  Don’t beat around the bush.  It will only annoy the Driver types.  Say what you have to say and do it efficiently.  No need to paint the picture first, worry about how they will “feel” when you say it, or go into lots of detail at the beginning.  Just say it.  They will respect you for that approach.  That doesn’t mean they will like what you say or that you will get a positive response.  You will, however, know where you stand and probably get the information you need in order to move forward.
  1. SHOW RESPECT. Drivers tend to be hard workers.  They tend to value hard work from themselves and others. They tend to take charge whether they need to, have been invited to, or not. Respecting their time, the position they have earned, and their opinion will go a long way in getting a Driver to listen to your point of view.
  1. KNOW THEY WANT TO WIN. Phrasing your comments or thoughts in a framework that allows them to know that winning is important will help you be heard.  Big bonus points will happen if you can tell them how the team can win faster because of your suggestion or thoughts.  Saying things like, “Joe, I’ve given this some thought and I think if we stop spending time on creating this report we could instead devote more time to calling more customers which has proven to net us more gains, more quickly.”
  1. ANSWER THE QUESTIONS AROUND “WHAT” FIRST. Drivers want to know the answer to the question “What?” first when you bring them something.  “What” do you want from them?  “What” can they do to help you?  “What” is needed to complete the task?  “What” resources do you need and when?  Answer the “what” questions at the beginning of the conversation.
  1. DON’T TAKE THEIR TONE PERSONALLY. No need to hang out and ask how a Driver’s weekend was or what they really liked about the movie they just saw.  They have moved on from whatever happened yesterday or sometimes, 5 minutes ago.  They will tell you if they want to share information with you or especially their “feelings” about something. The Driver behavioral style will be decisive, quickly.  They don’t mind change.  Not making a change they think is necessary for the team to get to the finish line faster may create an elevated level of anxiety or frustration for them.  Know that they move fast and are direct in their style.  Don’t take their tone personally.  Drivers are notoriously bad with their tone.  Ask for clarification if they say something that bothers you.  Say something like, “Joe, when you said you didn’t trust me to handle that client last week, can you let me know some exact things I did that created distrust for you?”


If you have a DISC assessment, turn to the page that is titled “Checklist for Communicating”.  Allow each team member to check their top 2 ways “to communicate” with them and their top 2 ways “not to communicate” with them.  Next, have each team member share their top 2, for each of those categories, and allow them time to explain why those are important.  Allow other members of your team to ask questions to clarify those.  To take this exercise to the next level, collect each person’s answers and distribute them in written form so that team member’s can refer back to them.  As importantly, this list can be used to give to new team members, as they join your team, so that they can assimilate into the culture more quickly.

If you do NOT have a DISC assessment, or each of your team member’s don’t, you can, of course, order those from us OR you can do a round wherein each team member answers both of these questions:

  1. When someone is working with you on a project or task, what methods are most effective for communicating with you?  Do you like for people to be direct and get right to the point, or do you like them to begin with a friendly and casual tone and approach?  Do you like to receive requests or information via email or in person?
  2. Which methods for communicating, in your work environment, annoy you the most? Do you hate when people drone on and on with details and just want them to get to the point, or do you like to have all the facts, up front, so you can consider them in your decision making or task execution process?

For information on completing a personalized DISC assessment or receiving a training for your team, you can reach Cortex Leadership Consulting office at (540) 776-9219, at

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