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The Driver Leadership Type: Dominance with Purpose
Drivers like to lead, win, and control their environments. When they derail, they put their personal goals above the interests of their organizations. The Driver leadership type can be highly effective when mature enough to take the goals and interests of others into account.
“Assertiveness is not what you do. It’s who you are.” – Shakti Gawain.
Leaders with predominantly Driver tendencies love to control their environments. And they take aggressive measures to do so. The Driver leadership type is assertive, larger-than-life, and drawn to leadership like a moth to a flame. For Drivers, leadership represents an opportunity and a potent tool to control their environments, including other people.
A Driver relishes attention and the reactions he or she elicits from other people. Using this attention as their perpetual energy source, Drivers amass an impressive reservoir of self-confidence they can use to improve themselves, their environments, and the people with whom they interact.
Self-confidence can make great things happen.
Characteristics of the Driver Leadership Type
Ego and maturity are the difference makers in how Drivers lead. Mature Drivers put their confidence and skills in service of a cause other than themselves. Once they do that, their leadership becomes highly inspirational and effective, provided they can keep their egos in check.
Mature Drivers have plenty of confidence and are decisive. Their energy and enthusiasm are contagious. They inspire their followers through example and find it easy and natural to win others’ admiration.
Successful Drivers are keen on aligning their interests with those of their organizations and other essential stakeholders. They promote worthwhile causes and fight heroically to achieve their objectives.
From a leadership coaching perspective, an exaggerated dependence on one’s environment is the central problem of the Driver leadership type. Their relationship with their surroundings is the source of most challenges Driver leaders face.
Challenges Faced by Driver Leaders
Once they lose control of how they relate to their environments, Drivers may derail. By letting their egos off the leash, they compare themselves to others, giving rise to frustrations, resentment, and toxic behaviors.
Compared to mature Drivers, middle-of-the-road Drivers shift their focus from others to themselves.
They become aggressive and forceful. Their leadership may exhibit dictatorial tendencies. The urge to dominate their environments remains strong for these leaders. But their motivations become self-serving.
“Never retreat. Never explain. Get it done. Let them howl.” – Benjamin Jowett.
Derailing Drivers no longer care about others and the costs their egomaniacal trips may entail for their peers and employees. To achieve their self-serving goals, derailing Drivers become hostile, even violent, and turn leadership into a survival-of-the-fittest contest.
In positions of power, derailing Drivers lose sight of the interests of the organization. They are quite ready to sacrifice the company on the altar of their grandeur and personal interests.
Recognizing the Driver Trait in Yourself
If you are self-confident and assertive in your leadership, you may be a Driver. Are you a mature Driver, however? Or do you harbor derailing tendencies?
From the perspective of leadership coaching, assertive leadership means taking responsibility for your actions. It also means being an active listener, communicating effectively, and knowing when to say yes or no.
Mature assertive leaders have no problems standing up for themselves and their reports. They take a chance and follow their intuition. These qualities earn the respect of employees who tend to see mature Drivers as heroic and inspirational.
If your leadership style fits this bill, you are not just a Driver. You are a successful Driver.
The Driver Leadership Style
The top priority of a Driver is to get things done. Drivers like to finish what they start. And they are strong finishers. Being focused on the outcome doesn’t prevent drivers from juggling several tasks while retaining efficiency. Effective problem-solving is second nature for Drivers.
Drivers expect similar abilities and commitment from their team members. Those who fail to live up to their expectations inevitably draw their ire.
Their dedication to accumulating work-related accomplishments is one of the weaknesses of Driver leaders. When they sense that others aren’t as committed to a cause as they are, conflicts spring up, and toxicity ensues.
Derailing Drivers are often unwilling to delegate work to employees they perceive as less committed than they are.
Leadership coaching can help Drivers optimize their goal-setting by strengthening their maturity and practicality-facing leadership skills.
Tips for Strengthening the Driver Trait
Drivers must recognize the necessity and value of cooperation.
Being a dominant leader is not about dominating and suppressing others. Here’s how executive coaching can help Drivers strengthen their positive traits and overcome their derailing tendencies.
- Sharing the load of goal setting and problem-solving. Mature Drivers make a priority of involving others in problem-solving and goal-setting. This way, they get more realistic goals and more optimal solutions.
- Exercising self-restraint. Successful Drivers often have little sympathy for others. They’ll crush those standing in their way. Exercising self-restraint and toning down aggression is more leaderlike and conducive to desirable long-term outcomes.
- Regarding others as equals. Drivers who recognize that others have the same needs and rights as they do can avoid sowing fear and hatred in others.
- Recognizing the necessity of cooperation. No one is self-sufficient in the business world. Mature Drivers understand that they must collaborate with others to prevail.
Drivers want to control their environments. They want to be self-reliant and have other people do their bidding.
They hate to submit to others and can start to derail if they sense that others don’t perceive them as self-sufficient.
Leadership coaching can bring out the best in Driver leaders. It can help them use their generosity to take care of others and involve their reports in goal-setting and decision-making.