Drive in the DISC Personality System

In the DISC Personality System, the Drive personality type is action oriented. Drive people are decisive, efficient, and self-motivated. They make excellent leaders who are adept at defining goals and the quickest way to achieve them. However, since Drive people tend to value results over relationships, they often struggle with collaboration, patience, and tactful communication.

Drive is one of four personality types of the DISC assessment system. It describes behavior that is dominant, assertive and results-oriented. If you’re a Drive type, you tend to take charge, make decisions, and control the direction of tasks and projects. You may be described as a natural leader. You enjoy being the captain of the ship. 

Drive is useful in leadership positions as it helps push to get the job done. However, it doesn't work as well for people who are in supporting roles. Highly Driven people may be frustrated in roles with no opportunity for leadership.

Drive Style Overview

The D of the DISC system can also stand for Dominance, and that's exactly what Drive types are. At their best, Drive types are confident, decisive, persistent and audacious. They set high expectations for themselves and others, speak up about problems and focus on results. They don’t mind taking risks to get things done.

In the workplace, Drive people are likely to appear:

  • Ambitious
  • Assertive
  • Resourceful
  • Decisive
  • Blunt
  • Pioneering
  • Skeptical
  • Competitive
  • Strong-willed
  • Self-reliant

They are less likely to appear:

  • Nurturing
  • Patient
  • Collaborative
  • Tolerant
  • Reflective
  • Predictable
  • Steady
  • Even-tempered
  • Complacent
  • Humble

Work Style and Talents of a Drive Type

The Drive style focuses on results and action over relationships and contemplation. To borrow a phrase from Mark Zuckerberg, they are the types most likely to “move fast and break things.” 

Whether it’s individually or in an organization, high-Drive personalities will be quick to determine whether a clear goal exists. If not, they will swiftly identify key issues to create a goal that is focused and clear – then they will figure out the fastest way to achieve it. They are quick to make a plan and assess the resources and skills required to get into action. 

This goal orientation means they are self-starters, taking the initiative to do what they think is necessary and sometimes overstepping their authority. Drive people do not sit around waiting for someone to take charge. Rather, they will speak up, offer their opinion and get things moving quickly. Nothing is worse to a Drive person than having to wait.

Strengths of a Drive type

Drive people tend to be good at:

  • Establishing clear goals
  • Using time and resources efficiently
  • Taking initiative
  • Seeking new opportunities
  • Taking calculated risks
  • Speaking their mind
  • Convincing others to see their point of view
  • Leading teams and projects
  • Working well under pressure
  • Making decisions quickly

Blind Spots of a Drive Type

Drive people may find it difficult to:

  • Listen to others
  • Share credit
  • Involve others in problem-solving
  • Resist the urge to criticize those who do not share their sense of urgency
  • Follow routines
  • Include all the small details
  • Be patient
  • Admit mistakes

Ideal Work Environment

Drive people are typical in always seeking more – more responsibility, more impact, more money, more power, more authority, more challenges, more success or more freedom. They are motivated by ambition and continually seek out opportunities for growth, advancement and new challenges to solve. A career or work environment that does not offer these things will soon feel stifling to a Drive type.  

Drive people tend to work best when they have:

  • New challenges and problems to solve
  • Authority to make decisions and take risks
  • Freedom from mundane tasks and routines
  • Fast-paced environments with ambitious deadlines
  • Coworkers who engage in healthy competition

They may feel drained when they have:

  • Too many rules and regulations
  • Lack of autonomy or control over their work
  • Routine tasks with no opportunity for creativity or change
  • Co-workers who take a long time to complete tasks
  • Team members who need a lot of support and guidance

Careers for Drive Types

Drive types gravitate towards positions of authority and often seek roles as managers or executives. Other compatible careers include sales, marketing, law, law enforcement, operations manager, stockbroker and athletic trainer. Anything fast-paced and competitive with ambitious projects and tight deadlines is likely to suit the determined Drive type. 

Drive types are also likely to be entrepreneurs and freelancers, as they have the risk-taking nature and decisiveness required to start their own businesses. Drive types are highly self-reliant in pursuing goals.

The Drive Type on a Team

Drive types on a team tend to naturally take on leadership roles. They are often not the warmest of people, nor the most collaborative. In fact, Drive people can sometimes feel they are held back by having to work with others. But when they can appreciate the contributions that their colleagues offer, they can be decisive, results-driven leaders who drive the team forward to action and success. 

On a team, Drive people tend to work well with others who ...

  • Are independent and self-motivated
  • Work well under pressure
  • Think situations through logically
  • Communicate in a straightforward way

Drive types may have more difficulty working with those who ...

  • Need a lot of guidance and support
  • Like to take their time in decision-making
  • Work best with routines and procedures
  • Value inclusion and collaboration over competition

On a team, Drive people tend to excel at:

  • Being comfortable with being in charge
  • Pushing the group ahead
  • Accepting challenges without fear
  • Maintaining focus on goals
  • Handling several jobs at the same time
  • Pushing the team to take risks
  • Engaging people in necessary debate

On a team, Drive people need to watch out for:

  • Trying to do everything themselves
  • Not listening to others' input
  • Not allowing time for discussion or collaboration
  • Being tactless when delivering feedback
  • Oversimplifying problems
  • Being too impulsive
  • Failing to delegate

The Drive Type as a Leader

Drive types have all the qualities of excellent leaders. Even in junior or supporting roles, they naturally will look for ways to take charge. They set high standards for themselves and others, and are always looking for opportunities to improve and grow. Drive leaders tend to be persuasive and have the ability to rally people around a shared goal. However, since they are so task-focused, they tend to see people as any other resource and may neglect the human side of work.

As leaders, Drive people tend to excel at:

  • Setting a clear vision and goal
  • Getting things done quickly
  • Making the difficult decisions
  • Taking risks
  • Building teams
  • Getting results
  • Resisting influence from others

They may need to watch out for:

  • Telling people what to do
  • Talking more than listening
  • Not taking the time to build relationships
  • Being perceived as unapproachable
  • Pushing people too hard
  • Failing to give praise and credit where it is due

Communicating as and with a Drive Type

Drive types tend to be direct and to the point in their communication style. They are often impatient and may not always take the time to listen to others. When communicating with a Drive type, it is important to be clear and concise in your message. Get to the point quickly and avoid beating around the bush.

Some helpful tips for communicating as a Drive type:

  • Ask questions to gather more information
  • Slow down your speech
  • Actively listen
  • Don't assume everyone 'gets' it; be prepared to offer a greater explanation
  • Be patient if others take longer to make their point
  • Be prepared to use pleasantries and small talk to create rapport

Some helpful tips for communicating with a Drive type:

  • State your case clearly and directly
  • Avoid small talk – get to the point quickly
  • Be prepared to answer questions and defend your position
  • Be logical and factual
  • Do not take their bluntness personally – they are just trying to get information as efficiently as possible

Drive Types in Conflict

Drive types are likely to butt heads with other Drive types, as they can be equally stubborn and inflexible. They may also have a hard time dealing with people who avoid conflict or take a more easygoing approach, such as those with a Support DISC style. In a conflict situation, Drive types tend to become impatient, aggressive and even domineering. They may have difficulty seeing other points of view and may resort to threats or ultimatums to get their way.

When in conflict, Drive types tend to:

  • Demand their own way
  • Be impatient
  • Become aggressive or even bullying
  • Avoid emotions and focus on the facts

Some helpful tips for managing conflict with a Drive type:

  • Allow them to have their say without interruption
  • Allow them time to cool down before trying to resolve the issue
  • Try to stay calm and logical in your responses
  • Offer solutions rather than dwelling on the problem
  • Be prepared to compromise – do not expect them to back down easily

Drive Types Under Stress

Drive types may become impatient and even aggressive when under stress. They may have a difficult time delegating tasks and may try to do everything themselves. They may also have trouble slowing down and become easily frustrated – most usually with themselves.

Some helpful tips for managing stress as a Drive type:

  • Learn to delegate – trust others to do the job
  • Try to stay calm and focused
  • Identify your triggers and avoid them if possible
  • Focus on the positive – what is going well with this project?
  • Create distance by leaving work on time instead of constantly working late

The Drive Subtypes

While all Drive types tend to share the same general characteristics, not everyone will have a pure Drive workstyle. In fact, there are two subtypes within the Drive style that have some distinct differences. The two Drive subtypes are:

D/i (Drive + Influence) - This subtype is a combination of high Drive and high Influence. D/i types are natural salespeople who are very persuasive and charming. They are outgoing, enthusiastic and enjoy being in the limelight. They excel at getting people on board with their ideas and motivating them to take action. 

Good career options for this type include sales rep, journalist, account executive, recruiter and public relations. 

D/c (Drive + Clarity) - This subtype is a combination of high Drive and high Clarity. D/c types are methodical, detail-oriented planners who like to have everything just so. They are often excellent at project management and can be counted on to get things done on time and within budget. They tend to be analytical, logical and make decisions based on facts rather than emotions. 

Good career options for this type include architect, attorney, finance executive, product manager and Chief Operating Officer. 

Famous People with the Drive Personality Type

It’s easy to spot famous people with the Drive type as they tend to be in leadership roles and at the very top of their game. Some famous people who fit the Drive personality type include Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gordon Ramsay, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Margaret Thatcher. 

How Rare is the Drive Personality Type?

The four quadrants of the DISC personality system are not equally represented and most studies suggest that Drive is rarest DISC style. According to a 2019 Extended DISC Global Validation Study, fewer than one in 10 people globally (9%) are pure Drive styles. In the United States, 10.9% of the population type as Drive. 

Tips for Success a Drive Type

Drive types are at their best when they are given challenges to solve and the freedom to take risks. They need to feel like they are in control and that their opinion matters. Drive types need to be careful not to come across as pushy or bossy, however, as this can turn people off and make them resistant to cooperating.

To be more effective at work, try these 10 tips for success:

  1. Don’t rush others unless it’s absolutely necessary
  2. Learn to delegate tasks more effectively, and trust the people you’ve delegated to deliver on time
  3. Communicate your vision clearly, using language others will understand
  4. Encourage debate and discussion over quick decision making
  5. Talk to others to gain insight into details you might be overlooking
  6. Ease people into big changes gradually and give plenty of notice before change is implemented
  7. Make an effort to spend one-on-one time with people who need it
  8. Soften your words and body language – it will help you build rapport and influence more effectively
  9. Honor those who need to slow down and analyze things
  10. Learn to apologize when you are wrong

To learn more about the Drive type and discover whether it fits you, take the free DISC personality test.

Jayne Thompson
Jayne is a B2B tech copywriter and the editorial director here at Truity. When she’s not writing to a deadline, she’s geeking out about personality psychology and conspiracy theories. Jayne is a true ambivert, barely an INTJ, and an Enneagram One. She lives with her husband and daughters in the UK. Find Jayne at White Rose Copywriting.