Finding drivers who fit the dynamic of your culture is critical. As you think about your hiring process and the leadership styles of your driver managers, consider the kinds of personalities you might look for, and which of those will blend well within your organization.
Learning someone’s personality type can take time, and learning how to manage their personality traits can take even longer. Behavioral assessments allow us to understand a person’s personality traits fairly quickly. This information provides a reference point for managers as they develop relationships with their team members and their key personality traits. Through the use of Professional Dynametric Programs (PDP), we are able to take a deeper dive into four of the main measurable personality traits:
- Dominance – The “take charge” trait. Those identified to be high on this personality trait tend to be assertive and productive. They prefer to take on a position of authority. Those low on this trait tend to be humble, composed, and non-confrontational, and are more likely to be supportive.
- Extroversion – The “people” trait. Those who identify to be high on this personality trait are typically expressive and outgoing. They enjoy socializing. Those low on this trait are commonly “thinkers” or contemplative, and one may also consider them private and reserved at times.
- Pace – The “patience” trait. People identified to be high on this personality trait are generally persistent, steady, and consistent. They also seek change and enjoy spontaneity. Those low on this trait enjoy a fast pace, and may approach tasks with a high sense of urgency.
- Conformity – The “systems” trait. Those high on this personality trait identify with following procedures and being disciplined, and are generally loyal. Those low on this trait seek adventure and desire freedom, and tend to be non-traditional and value independence.
A several years back, People Element conducted a study where we reached out to Truckload Carriers Association’s (TCA) Best Fleets to Drive For, and asked them this question: If you had to start your company over, which five drivers would you start over with? We then conducted personality assessments on those drivers and aggregated the results to generate the profile of a successful driver. Our study revealed that the strongest personality trait of the successful driver profile was pace, followed by conformity. The least strong trait was dominance. Conversely, the strongest personality trait of the average driver manager is extroversion. This can lead to a struggle between those who classify as high extroversion, and those who classify as high pace.
Communicate Better with Your Best Drivers
It can feel natural to communicate with others in the same manner that we prefer to be communicated to. However, in the case of average driver managers and successful driver personality traits, their styles are quite different.
Those with a high extroversion personality trait, as with the average driver manager, would do well to organize their thoughts before speaking, keep their messages focused, and listen without interrupting when they’re working with those with a high pace personality trait, like the profile of a successful driver. As for the drivers, some things they can keep in mind as it relates to effectively communicating with their managers is to express their ideas and opinions, confront them immediately, share their honest and true feelings, and agree and commit to justifiable change.
Recognize Differences and Adjust Your Style
A key component to successfully navigating the relationship between drivers and driver managers is recognizing their different personality traits. Knowing what to look for allows you to appropriately adjust your communication style to the situation or circumstances.
What behavioral assessments tell us to effectively communicate is that the average driver manager is classified under the high extroversion personality trait, and they tend to be positive, optimistic people who enjoy talking and presenting in front of a group. They can be inspiring and motivating, and they respond well to being included in team discussions, friendly affirmations, and being recognized. This is in large contrast to the high pace personality trait of high performing drivers.
Assessments also tell us that drivers classified with a high pace personality trait have a casual yet careful style. These drivers tend to be friendly and easy-going, and are generally patient and accommodating. They’re comfortable waiting for other people, for results, and adapting to circumstances. Normally, they will hold things in and when they react, do so calmly. When it comes to sharing changes with them, they will need time to process that change ahead of time. You’ll want to give them a chance to agree upon an agenda or a time frame in advance. They also respond best to consistency, clear instructions, and clear priorities. With the pace personality trait, it’s best to avoid conflict, unjustified pressure, and sudden changes with no warning. It’s also best not to expect quick responses, or to approach them with any arrogance, exaggeration or constantly interrupt them.
Naturally, it can be difficult for a driver manager to remember the personality traits of each driver on their board. One solution may be to include their behavioral type in their driver profile, either within your system or in their file, and to make it a habit of checking that prior to calling or checking in with them in order to maximize communication.
The relationship between driver managers and their drivers is an important dynamic. It’s critical to the success of your business that the communication between them is effective. Through the use of assessments, you will know what to look for when fostering the relationships between drivers and driver managers, and can make sure that they blend well within your organization.