There is an interesting aspect of human behaviour, where sometimes, we can overdo our strengths, so that they become weaknesses.
Understanding our strengths and weaknesses, how they affect our style of communication and the impact they have on others goes a long way towards explaining the dysfunctional relationships we can co-create – and how we can use our strengths to complement those of others.
Taibi Kahler (1975) asserts that we are in driver behaviour (so called because we are compelled to behave in this way) 90% of the time. In my teaching of drivers within organisations I concentrate on the behavioural aspects of the drivers and what they invite in others, and I balance that from a developmental point of view with Working Styles (Hay 1996). It is important to highlight here the positive aspects of each style, because of a tendency of many to default to the negative, and only hear the “bad” bits.
In the explanations that follow, I will briefly take each driver and describe the negative and positive aspects of accompanying behaviour.
People with a Hurry Up driver talk fast, think fast and are highly productive people. They are always looking to accomplish a task in a shorter time, or do three tasks at once, constantly looking for the short-cuts. In the negative end of their driver, they can be intolerant of those who do not think as fast as they do, they do not always listen attentively (because they are too busy processing and thinking about what they are going to say next) and because they have so many plates spinning at once, they make mistakes.
In a training situation, the Hurry Ups in the room will often be the “pen-clickers”; they will flick through the workbook ahead of the trainer and often be dismissive of others who want to debate or discuss. Hurry Ups are big picture people, they grasp the scope of a subject or project and do not concern themselves too much with the detail. Their speech pattern is to speak quickly, using phrases like “Let’s get on with it”.
People who have a Be Perfect driver are the opposite of the Hurry Up. They are detail people who are careful and methodical, well-organised with high standards for themselves and for others. In their driver end they can be pedantic, split hairs and expect a high standard which is not always necessary. They will also “beat themselves up” long and hard over a mistake that many people will not see as important.
In the training room, they will evidence Be Perfect behaviour by using a straight edge to underline notes, by seeking points of clarification, by taking longer to complete exercises than others and by making sure they have got the detail of the subject. They use words like “obviously” and “as I was saying”, and they speak slowly and deliberately, often using “brackets” to give extra information.
The Please People driver manifests itself with the person being kind, caring, nurturing and sensitive – the focus is on other people, often to the detriment of self. They read body language to a higher degree than most, seek the approval of others and work so hard to please, that they read your mind for you and do whatever it is they think you want – and then get upset when it turns out not to be what you wanted at all.
In the training room, they will give the trainer their full attention, smile and nod a great deal, work hard to come up with the answers, hold doors open and fetch the water for the group. They use phrases like “You know” and “sort of”.
Try Hard people love learning and new ideas and have good interpersonal skills because they see others as a source of new information. They volunteer for new projects and will give 110% to set up a new system, but they easily get bored and rarely finish things (they leave that to the Be Perfect in the team!). Their commitment is to trying, not to succeeding.
In the training room, they evidence this driver by volunteering information and their services for exercises, they embellish their exercises with colours and designs and they often waffle or go off at tangents - they use the word “try” a great deal. They have lots of enthusiasm, which is attractive, and will often be the first person to engage with the trainer – which is useful!
Be Strongs are task-oriented, they have a strong sense of duty, tend to see things in a black and white way and do not like to disclose personal thoughts or feelings. They can be dismissive of those who do. They see asking for help as a sign of weakness, and do not like to admit they cannot cope. They get on with the job without fuss, and see the task through to the end.
In the training room, Be Strongs can sometimes distance themselves from the trainer and from the group. In my programmes, which often require self-reflection and examination, Be Strongs can sometimes struggle to overcome what they see as the “pink and fluffy” subject areas.
They also manifest this driver by being overly jovial, joking and using humour to keep people at arm’s length. They de-personalise their thoughts in their speech patterns - “It seems to me” rather than “I think”.
Trainers have drivers too! And that might be the subject of my next blog ......
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