Stephenson Coaching

How do our “Drivers” Affect our Behaviour in the Workplace?

Do you find yourself accepting to do things at work just to please other people? Or do you turn down public speaking opportunities because you’re afraid your presentation skills won’t be good enough? Or maybe you put so much pressure on yourself to do a good job that you end up working longer hours than your colleagues?

These are the behaviours that are described by Eric Berne, the founder of Transactional Analysis, as our “Drivers”. Basically, our Drivers are the messages we received from our parents and education in our childhood that condition the way we interact and communicate with others today. Understanding them can help us to gain greater self-awareness and also change behaviours that limit our evolution in the workplace.

Although our Drivers can positively influence the way we work – for example encouraging us to strive to give the best of ourselves – when left unchecked, they hold us back from achieving our full potential. Moreover, they emerge negatively in stressful moments and stop us from managing tough situations calmly and effectively.

What are the 5 Drivers of TA?

  • Please Me!
  • Be Strong!
  • Hurry Up!
  • Try Hard!
  • Be Perfect!

 

Which one resonates the most strongly with you?

Let’s look more closely at each Driver to understand how they affect our behaviour in the workplace and in our interactions with others.

 

Please Me

If this is one of your primary drivers, you might:

  • find workplace conflict difficult to manage
  • find it difficult to be assertive in meetings even if you disagree with what’s being said
  • put (too much) effort into helping your colleagues
  • put up with things you don’t agree with so as not to rock the boat
  • find it difficult to give negative feedback in case it upsets the other person

Be strong

If this is one of your primary drivers, you might:

  • find it difficult to express what you’re feeling, especially if it could be seen as a weakness
  • find it difficult to ask for help, even if you have an excessive workload
  • find it difficult to delegate work to other

Hurry Up

If this is one of your primary drivers, you might:

  • be impatient with yourself and others
  • rush to finish what you’re doing to move on to the next thing
  • pressure others to get on with things (quickly)
  • be thinking more about the final destination rather than enjoying the journey

Try Hard

If this is one of your primary drivers, you might:

  • give the impression to others (and yourself) that you always have a lot to do
  • commit a lot of energy to what you’re doing to show you are trying hard
  • talk about how hard things are
  • not allow yourself time to relax

Be Perfect

If this is one of your primary drivers, you might:

  • set (excessively) high standards for yourself and others
  • be dissatisfied with your own (and others’) work unless it meets your standards of perfection
  • want to get it right first time, not allowing yourself time for trial and error
  • be picky about the work you do, not allowing for mistakes

What’s the Antidote to Drivers?

 The key to neutralising the negative effects our Drivers have on our behaviour and interactions is to give ourselves “the permission to…”

More precisely, this means striving to adopt behaviours that are the opposite to what we would spontaneously have. This helps us to build up greater resilience in stressful situations and it even helps us to be more productive in our work and more content in our lives in general.

 

This is what the antidote looks like in action:

Please Me

You can give yourself the permission to:

  • say no when you don’t agree with someone
  • express what you need, even if it means being less available for someone else

Be strong

You can give yourself the permission to:

  • express your feelings without being afraid to be seen as weak
  • ask for help
  • not know all the answers

Hurry Up

You can give yourself the permission to:

  • slow down and relax
  • take time out to just think

Try Hard

You can give yourself the permission to:

  • relax and just let things happen
  • enjoy doing things easily, without excessive effort

Be Perfect

You can give yourself the permission to:

  • tell yourself “This will do, it’s good enough for this purpose”
  • make mistakes
  • try something out, even if it’s not perfect first time

 

Tip

Self-awareness is the key to changing the negative behaviours we unconsciously put in place. Try to become aware of your way of behaving in stressful situations and notice which of the Drivers are dictating most strongly your reactions. Then work on replacing these negative ways of acting with more constructive, useful responses by giving yourself “the permission to…”

 

Get In Touch

If you’d like to learn more about how your unconscious behaviours are affecting your interactions, communication and progress in your work, please do get in touch for a free 30-minute consultation.

We’ll discuss a coaching programme totally adapted to your specific needs to allow you to overcome your self-doubts and bring greater fulfilment into your life and career.

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