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Fleet Safety – How to Hire and Keep Steady, Reliable Drivers

Behavioral experts will tell you the safest drivers are those high in the S (Steadiness) and C (Compliant) behavioral factors. Research and experience prove this to be true. These are the good drivers you want to keep. You do that by understanding their needs and managing them effectively. Surveys have repeatedly shown that money isn't what employees want most from their company; being treated well ranks even higher than being paid well.

In this article, we'll look at ways to relate to drivers with the Core S behavioral style. By doing these things, you'll be able to more effectively and easily manage and motivate them.

Understanding their desire for safety and security, you can manage drivers (and others) high in the S factor effectively by knowing that they need:

Reassurances that they're doing the job right.
A manager who delegates in detail.
Support in making high-risk decisions.
To be encouraged to be more independent.
Complete instructions on assignments.
A manager who prefers quality over quantity.

Effectively motivate Core S drivers by understanding that they want:

Time to perform to their high standards.
Precision work to perform.
To be part of a quality-oriented work group.
Better planning and fewer changes in the organization.
Information in a logical order.
Respect for their slower pace and quiet manner.

Taking the time to learn what individuals want will make you a better manager. The people who work for you appreciate knowing you understand their wants and needs and provide them in the workplace. Good managers manage by needs and motivate by wants. And they know they can't manage everyone in the same way.

It's also important to learn how to (and how not to) communicate with drivers who have the Core S behavioral style. Here are tips on how to interact most effectively with your drivers (and others) who have this behavioral styles:

DO these things:

Provide personal assurances, clear, specific solutions with maximum guarantees.
Prepare your “case” in advance.
Provide guarantees that their decisions will minimize risk; give assurance that provides them with benefits.
If you're going to make changes in their work duties or schedule, be sure to give them a lot of time to prepare for the changes ahead of time.
Define clearly, preferably in writing, what is expected of them and what tasks they are to do.
Watch their body language for areas of disagreement. They probably won't tell you when they're upset; they'll pretend everything is all right even when it isn't.
Use a thoughtful approach; build your credibility by listing pros and cons to any suggestion you make.
Use a soft, slow tone of voice and be friendly; let them know you appreciate all they do for the company.

DON'T do these things:

Be vague; don't offer opinions and probabilities.
Threaten, cajole, wheedle, or coax them.
Push too hard for quick action or decisions; don't be unrealistic with deadlines
Offer assurance and guarantees you can't fulfill.
Be insincere
Be loud, boisterous, abrupt, or rapid in your speech or body movements.
Manipulate or push them into agreeing because they probably won't “fight back.”
Rush headlong into business or the agenda.
Leave them without backup support.

The ideal work situation for drivers with Core S behavioral styles includes a stable and predictable environment, personal attention and compliments for each assignment well done, being able to finish one assignment before starting on another, communication through logic and not emotion, little conflict between people, a close relationship with a small group of associates, a familiar work environment with a predictable pattern, a preference for technical work specializing in one area.

Behavioral style analysis and values assessments can give you crucial information you need to know to determine whether to hire particular drivers; and if you do, how to manage them so they will stay with your company and be outstanding employees.

In our next article, we'll look at how to effectively manage drivers with the Core C (Cautious, Compliant) behavioral style.

©2007 Annette Estes. All Rights Reserved. Permission to reprint granted as long as entire text and tag line are included.

About the Author: Annette Estes is a Certified Professional Behavioral and Values Analyst, coach, and trucking company consultant. She is an award-winning columnist and author of the book Why Can't You See It My Way? Resolving Values Conflicts at Work and Home. Subscribe to her free newsletter at

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