August 15, 2018 Tony Morgan

5 Ways to Help the Driver Drive | The Unstuck Church Podcast | Episode 54

How Leaders Can Adjust When a Driver Personality Is In Charge

How do you adjust to whoever is leading your team? Do you refuse to adjust your leadership style or do you lean into what that leader has for you?

In this episode, Amy Anderson and I switch places as I interview Amy about what it’s like to work for someone with a “driver” personality. She explains five ways to adjust to these types of leaders and why being adaptable ultimately strengthens your church.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How to prepare for meetings when your boss is a driver

  • How to present ideas to those with driver personalities

  • Why adjusting to your leader positively impacts your church

  • Why bringing a good energy to the table is important

Join the Conversation:

Are you like Amy and have some advice on how to work for those with driver personalities? Or are you yourself a driver with a different perspective on your leadership? I would love to hear from you. Use #unstuckchurch on social media to continue the conversation.

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Podcast Transcript

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Tony Morgan:                        00:56                       Welcome to The Unstuck Church Podcast. I’m Tony Morgan, and I’m here today with Amy Anderson. Each week we share a conversation our team is having about getting churches unstuck. I’m actually

Tony Morgan:                       01:07                       really taking the mic today, Amy, to interview you because last week we spoke to senior pastors who have a driver personality. Uh, these are leaders who are fast paced. They’re on task, they’re on mission, they’re driven and we walked through the strengths they bring to a team and what adjustments they might have to make for the team to be more effective and their leadership and if you haven’t heard that podcast, I didn’t encourage you to go back to take a listen to that first before we go through the conversation today because today we’re going to be talking to those people who work with a driving senior pastor and what adjustments you might need to make to increase your effectiveness and leading up influencing your leader and amy because you work for a driver. I’m talking to you today. Isn’t this fun? So amy, you get to work with churches across the country every week and often that’s you’re doing the staffing and structure review that we do with churches where we try to make sure their structure aligns with the vision and the strategy that they’re going after. And because of that you also work with a lot of driver pastors and a lot of teams at work for a driver pastors. So with that, I’m going to interview you for that.

Amy Anderson:                    02:28                       There’s no math, right?

Tony Morgan:                       02:30                       No, no. As far as I know. No math

Tony Morgan:                       02:32                       involved in today’s conversation. So yeah. Yeah. So let’s dive in. Last week I gave a summary of the strengths the leader with a driver personality brings to the team and I’m curious, did you agree with those strengths or is there anything you to add?

Amy Anderson:                    02:48                       Yeah, I thought your summary was great. You know, like I said before, for the last 25 years, I have always worked for that driver personality. I’ve worked for men, I’ve worked for women, I’ve worked in secular, I worked in ministry. I guess I must just be drawn to them. Maybe that’s a… Anyways, I’ve loved it most of the time. Most of the time I’ve loved it because the headline strengths for me, our drivers typically are direct, and I appreciate that because I never have to guess what they’re saying. The direction is always crystal clear. Nothing’s gray. Um, so I appreciate that. I think that’s a headline strength. Another one, and this is true view, they make decisions, even hard ones. You know, when you’re on the people side of the wheel versus the task or mission side, there’s just always that little bit of pause, that little bit of struggle and I’m not saying that you don’t struggle when you have to make people calls, but if you’re on the people side, it’s even harder because of the impact that it has on the relational side of things.

Amy Anderson:                    03:48                       And so I’ve always appreciated drivers because they helped me sort through those issues, those relational issues, and they give me courage, uh, in those times when I have to take a step or make a hard call. And mostly because they hold me accountable. You guys are good at that. Lastly, I love drivers, passion to get things done. So I like to achieve. I like to be on a winning team and it’s really my driver leaders that have often been the catalyst for moving our organization or our team towards success. And so I, I love the strength that they bring to the team that way.

Tony Morgan:                       04:26                       That’s good. That’s good. Okay. So I also mentioned some things that drivers might be doing that gets in the way of their effectiveness. Any comments here?

Amy Anderson:                    04:35                       Probably the headline that you guys can be intimidating, especially when you’re worked up over something when you start to get some of that spot going or you’ve been hooked in some way because I think I’m a pretty strong person and I can generally hold my own, but even I get uneasy when those conversations get forceful, I guess is the word that I would use. Um, so, but I’d also add that the team has some responsibility in those situations too. Um, I guess that’s the point of this podcast because when you work with or for a driver, there’s definitely some things that we as team members can do better in those moments even before they get to that point where a driver is extremely forceful or frustrated.

Tony Morgan:                       05:17                       Alright. So that, that actually leads to my next question. Let’s say that I’m a leader who works for driver. What adjustments do I need to make that would help the driver and strengthen the overall team?

Amy Anderson:                    05:30                       Yeah. Um, well as John Maxwell says, leadership is all about influence, so I always start there in fact, you know, for, to be effective leaders in general, we all have to learn how to influence our leader, which means I think sometimes we expect people to adjust to us, but the wise leaders are the ones who adjust to the leaders around them. So his book, by the way, the 360 degree leader, if you just need some real practical tools to how to either lead your subordinates to your peers or lead up tear your leader is a great book. It’s 360 degree leader. There’s a whole section on how to lead up well. But um, beyond just kind of those brass tacks, when I think about a specifically, how do you adjust when you work with the driver? Um, I’ve got five, my top five. So first thing is when you’re going to meet with the driver, be prepared before a discussion.

Amy Anderson:                    06:22                       You can’t be disorganized. I think drivers get irritated by inefficiency and indecision. And by the way, if you’re an extrovert, which I am, we like to process out loud when you meet with the driver in general, that’s not a time to go start processing out loud, so you have to be prepared. I always like to lay out options with any of my opinions and then I try to narrow that down to about two or three and be prepared to give a short synopsis of what a driver, what my driver would think. So I don’t bring six options. So you’re sending out right now as I’m talking to you

Tony Morgan:                       06:58                       Because you have five. I was just going confirm a uh, as a driver. I don’t like when people deliver problems. I like when they deliver solutions and that if the processing is about figuring out which solution should we pursue, I’m all for that because that solution is going to lead to results. But if all you’re doing is, is, is delivering a problem. I don’t want any part of that.

Amy Anderson:                    07:27                       I’m aware. Alright. So my number

Amy Anderson:                    07:32                       two which was I was kind of dribbling into which is to just be concise in general when you’re meeting with the driver, stick to business and get to the point your senior pastor, the senior pastor I worked for was an is a driver and I knew that if I wanted to influence him or get him on board was something I was working on. I had to be prepared going back to point one before I opened up the discussion and I, I literally Tony and I do this with you sometimes I’d prepped 30 minutes before a short meeting with him because I knew if I just went into his office and rambled on and on or if I drifted off topic and started talking about something else, I would lose him because drivers, like you said last week, they want to know what and as you said your last podcast, they don’t necessarily want to hear the entire story of how you got to where you are. So be prepared and be concise. Anything you want to add there or should I move on? You can move on. Okay. Excellent.

Tony Morgan:                       08:26                       Number three, stay concise.

Amy Anderson:                    08:31                       Uh, number

Amy Anderson:                    08:31                       three would be leave room for options. And so I think there’s a part of the driver personality that likes to weigh in and make decisions and help with making decisions. So I would encourage you, if you work with the driver, don’t have your entire idea, uh, that you’re discussing all baked before you go into the meeting, let him or her add to the idea and also going to my first point of being prepared, bring some supporting data with you. Drivers do like facts and data, facts beat feelings. Just don’t bring like 30 spreadsheets with you. Again, they don’t want to get way into the weeds but, you know, be concise. Would you agree?

Tony Morgan:                       09:10                       But that I, I, yes, I do agree with that and I guess this would be my caution, um, again, because I know myself so well, if you bring me a decision, I will make the decision. And so the warning or the coaching there is be careful about what decisions you bring to me because I actually don’t have to make every decision and, but we, we, it’s like decision making. It’s we’re addicted to it and so and as drivers, we’re not afraid. Remember the last episode, a bad decisions better than no decision and so if you bring us a decision to make, we’re gonna make it and so the key here is, and actually I even knew and I, Amy have, I don’t bring this to me, just take care of it because I really don’t need to be invested in every decision. That’s not helpful for me as a leader and so you. This may sound a little bit counterintuitive and again, you’re going to have to help your team get the confidence to do this because if you’ve been speaking first and making all the decisions there, they’re accustomed to you taking the lead, but for your team to get to a healthier place, you need to give that decision making away to people that you trust, that are high capacity leaders. Amy, you are one of those and so for someone like you is just be careful what w, what decisions you bring to that driver leader.

Amy Anderson:                    10:35                       Well, and by the way, if you, if you match that with the intensity that a driver has, nobody wants to upset a driver so you can sometimes bring questions to drivers. It’s not like you don’t want to answer it, but you’re kind of fearful if you make the wrong decision. So it is that delicate line. I remember coming into my senior pastor’s office once and I asked him a question. He said the same thing, Tony. He’s like, do you want me involved in this decision? And as I was thinking, I’m like, no, I actually don’t. So I just walked backwards out of his office. I didn’t want to make the wrong one. So it’s a delicate line. Yeah.

Tony Morgan:                       11:12                       Amy, Amy, I mean, and I have to think for a lot of the senior pastors that are listening, they have highly capable leaders on their team. People like you, and we actually would prefer for you to be making decisions. The team’s going to be better for it. So yeah, it’s, it’s help helping kind of transition that response, those responsibilities so that we’re making sure that the team is strong or because we’re actually sharing decision making responsibility.

Amy Anderson:                    11:42                       That’s all right. All right. Number four, uh, influencing a driver. You can tell me if you agree with this one, Tony, but I just think you have to bring some energy. So I’m not saying that we all need to be over the top extroverted or salesman, kind of thing. But I am saying that if you’re in a meeting and important things are being discussed, if you just sit and listen the entire time, I think you’re losing influence with the driver. I think you have to contribute at some level. Um, so that they know that you’re engaged and you’re on task with them.

Tony Morgan:                       12:13                       Yeah. And I would think that this is maybe even more so for the drivers that are also more extroverted and their personality. Um, uh, I think for me, because I’m introverted, uh, I know that the person that’s not talking, there’s something there and it’s probably gold when I invite them to speak. But I think your intuition is correct, Amy, um, if you’re in a, if you’re in a high level meeting and you’re completely silent the whole time, eventually the driver again wants to see results they want, they want things to get done. And I’m pounding my fist as I say. And so if there’s any sense that there’s someone around the table that’s not adding, they’re not contributing to the, to the contribution and ultimately to accomplishing the vision and strategy. Then at some point that person’s probably going to be uninvited from those meetings.

Amy Anderson:                    13:09                       Just bring some energy. And lastly, kind of related to it is just pick up your pace when, if you want to influence the driver. So if you tend to be a slower paced person, this is important. You need to be able to speed up when you work with a driver. I think drivers minds moved very quickly. They think fast and they absorb information fast. And so it goes back to where we started. Be prepared, be concise, but, and that will allow you to pick up the pace which again will help the driver stay connected with what you’re trying to communicate to them. So that’s my list.

Tony Morgan:                       13:41                       That’s a good list, amy. Uh, so if I heard right, you said, be prepared, be concise. Leave room for options, bring some energy and pick up your pace. And if you, if you maintain those types of attributes and how you influence and lead up that will help you be more effective, that will help your leader be more effective and ultimately it will help your team accomplish a greater mission. Any other final thoughts? Amy, before we wrap this one up?

Amy Anderson:                    14:14                       Yes. I would just pick you back on what you just said. Your senior pastors, your senior leaders, they need to hear from the organization. They need to hear from the people in the middle of the organization. And so by learning how to adapt and influenced your senior leader, you’re actually making your church healthier and stronger. So it’s worth it.

Tony Morgan:                       14:32                       Amy, you are very wise. I love these podcasts. When I get to talk to you and interview you, this is fun. So much fun. We ought to do this more often.

Amy Anderson:                    14:41                       All right, whatever you say, I’m all about whatever’s going to bring us the best results.

Tony Morgan:                       14:46                       That’s right. Now you’re speaking my love language. Awesome. Alright,

Tony Morgan:                        14:52                       so thank you, Amy, and thanks to our listeners for tuning in for today’s podcast, be sure to subscribe on iTunes. If you’re into that apple thing or google play, if you’re an android band like me or wherever you get your podcast so you don’t miss an episode and we’ve love to hear your thoughts and comments. So join the conversation on social media and using Hashtag unstuck church. And finally you can learn more about how the unstuck group helps churches get unstuck theunstuckgroup.com.

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Tony Morgan

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.