Behaviours that drive us

What Are Driver Behaviours

When under pressure we are compelled to repeat one of five behaviours. These actions are carried out in an attempt feel OK, by coping with or resolving the internal difficulties we experience. Often recognisable to others as a character trait of ours we may not be so aware of it until pointed out to us.

These behaviours are carried out unconsciously and consistently. Known in Transactional Analysis as ‘Driver Behaviours’ or just ‘Drivers’, these are not authentic responses. Rather they are learnt involuntary reactions to a situation. This can lead to dissatisfaction with our repeated response to others, how we do things and can impact on relationships.

We tend to repeat the same one or two behaviours.  Everyone experiences all of the driver behaviours at different times. However we have a Primary and sometimes a Secondary driver that occurs more frequently.

Driver behaviours can have positive influences depending on the situation. Knowing our driver behaviours we can apply counters so as to reducing their controlling influence. We can also recognise and utilise their  beneficial aspects in the appropriate situation. This helps maintain our wellbeing and promote human growth.


Identify Your Primary Driver Behaviour

Be Perfect – We demand perfection of our self and sometimes others which can put pressure on relationships. Don’t make mistakes. Do things right every time, look right, sound right, be right. Requires constant effort and is unforgiving  as the underlying message is ‘not good enough’. 

Countered by – I don’t have no be perfect, no one is perfect. ’Good enough is good enough’.

Benefits – are when engaging in activities that require accuracy and precision.

Be Strong – Doesn’t  show or share emotions with others as that is not safe. Hold own thoughts and feelings in check, engaging with others in a functional way.  Puts up with adverse situations often without complaint, whilst suffering in silence.  The underlying message is ‘I have to be strong to keep going and be responsible for others’.

Countered – by allowing your feeling to come to the surface and to ask for help when needed. ‘I don’t have to do it on my own’.

Benefits – are remaining calm and focused in a crisis

Try Hard – Repeatedly attempts things always putting huge effort into them. Often takes on too much and so becomes overloaded. Often sabotages own success as  the importance is on the trying with great sacrifice and suffering rather than a good outcome. The underlying message is ‘look how hard I’m trying to do the right thing’.

Countered – by doing only what is necessary to get the job done. ‘Don’t sweat it’.

Benefits – are putting effort into tasks and to keep on working on it.

Please Others – put others before you and working hard to keep them happy. Offers help to others but doesn’t ask for or receive help in return. Others happiness comes first, you come last after the dog.  The underlying message is’ I can only feel OK about myself if you feel OK about me first’

Countered – by valuing self as much as others and ‘It’s OK to put self first’.

Benefits – are being able to get on with other people, to be receptive and aware of other peoples needs.

Hurry Up – having the urge to go faster, to speed up working faster and faster. To go at a break neck speed with a constant feeling of having to hurry. Thinking in fast bursts, move out of the way of others and stay ahead. The underlying message is ‘Don’t relax around others, don’t keep others waiting’.

Countered – by doing things in your own time and slow down.  ‘It’s OK for others to wait for me’.

Benefits – able to carry out tasks quickly and efficiently, good at thinking on their feet. Makes decisions quickly and able to take advantage of the situation.

Don’t be Driven, Learn to Use

Learn to recognise when you are in a driver behaviour. Apply the specific counter to that driver so as to reduce the impulsive influence over you .

Gain awareness in which situations your driver is of benefit. Then consciously employ its influence to play to your strengths in appropriate circumstances.

Check out other counselling and coaching articles and wellbeing blogs  on my website.