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The Driver Trait
Driver leaders can bring self-confidence, self-reliance, and determination to organizations. Derailing drivers may become authoritarian, immoral, and committed only to fulfilling personal goals. Leadership coaching can help drivers recognize their weaknesses and plot courses towards leadership maturity.
When we think of old-fashioned, aggressive, authoritarian leaders, we tend to think of those who predicate leadership on what I have defined in my leadership coaching books as the driver trait.
Drivers like to dominate and shape environments. Mature drivers are confident and have no problems asserting themselves. They take the initiative, seize opportunities, and bring self-reliance and self-determination to the table. Driver leaders at the peak of their maturity are magnanimous, inspirational leaders who effortlessly empower and encourage employees.
Divers are self-reliant, dominant leaders.
Leadership Maturity and the Driver Trait
Leadership maturity sets successful, inspirational leaders apart from derailing leaders who risk devolving into liabilities for organizations. Mature leaders understand how their weaknesses and strengths work. Maturity entails some degree of self-awareness that allows leaders to recognize the dangers their leadership traits hide. Immaturity in life and leadership is the source of most bad decisions and irresponsible behaviors.
Mature drivers can use their self-confidence and assertiveness to make things better for employees, peers, and organizations. Such leaders can inspire others to adopt worthy causes. Their persistence to achieve goals is a considerable asset so long as their goals reflect the interests of their people and the purposes of their organizations.
Are You a Mature Driver?
If you’re assertive, self-confident, and will stop at nothing to achieve goals, you’re probably a driver, but are you a mature driver? You may be if:
- Your assertiveness and dominant leadership style are sources of inspiration for others.
- You recognize opportunities and pounce on them with energy and enthusiasm that inspires your peers and reports.
- You adopt worthwhile causes above your personal interests and needs.
- Others admire and respect you.
- You find it easy to align your interests and aspirations with others.
- Reports view you as heroic.
Your basic motivation as a driver leader is to feel fulfilled and have fun with what you do. You don’t fear much, but you can’t bear the thought of losing what you think you deserve.
When Drivers Derail
How drivers relate to their environments defines their limitations as leaders. As the most aggressive leaders, drivers are prone to comparing themselves to others. They feel a need to be better than others and dominate environments. Since they’re the best at everything in their minds, they’re the ones who should make all the decisions.
You may be a derailing driver if:
- Your assertiveness degenerates into aggression and belligerence.
- Your need to dominate your environment makes you assume poorly calculated risks and adventures.
- The need to be better than others can dominate your personal and professional agendas.
- You seek to dominate those around you regardless of the costs.
- You’re self-centered.
- You want unconditional compliance from others and bully people to get your way.
If you fail to recognize your derailing tendencies and turn to executive coaching for help, you may spiral deeper into driver chaos.
- You become authoritarian and immoral.
- You see your organization as an ecosystem where survival of the fittest is the only law.
- You grow fearless and start believing you’re invincible.
- Whenever you face resistance, you become hostile and violent.
How Can Executive Coaching Help Derailing Drivers?
A coach can help derailing driver leaders disrupt the spiral of their derailment and create roadmaps for improvement.
Mature drivers can seek to acquire the attributes of mature helpers to become more selfless, empathic, and caring.
A great coach can change lives.
Derailing drivers should adopt similar approaches while avoiding thinker traits. Mixing thinker elements with those of a derailing driver can cause leaders to drop belligerence in favor of a more tactical, less moral, secretive, and even toxic approach to leadership.
Business coaching can teach drivers to appreciate what they have and value their experiences instead of constantly striving to acquire new ones.