Transactional Analysis – Drivers:

Our Driver behaviours are ways in which we respond to challenge or stress.

These are subconscious attempts by us to behave in ways that will gain us the recognition we need from other people. Used in awareness with moderation our Driver behaviours can guide us towards successful living and working. However when we are under stress we may go too far in our efforts to obey the Driver, which results in being more stressed and not solving the problem (adapted from Kahler and Hay by A Jesson 1993)

By identifying and overcoming unconscious Driver behaviour, we can significantly improve our wellbeing as well as our effectiveness, creativity, communication and relationships.

The concept of Drivers is therefore a very powerful tool that can help achieve personal growth and change.

The five Drivers are:
• Please Me
• Be Strong
• Hurry Up
• Try Hard
• Be Perfect

We each have a ‘default’ Driver (or possibly two or more) that we operate from. Each of the five Drivers have positive merits but when used when we are busy and tired, we may go into overdrive and find that they bring with them some negative behaviours.

TRY HARD: Puts a lot of effort into new projects. Well motivated, enthusiastic, creative. Can look at all sides of a problem. Goes off on a tangent. Doesn’t stick to the agenda. Butterfly mind and may drown people with their ideas. Try Hard is ruled by the motto that it is the effort that matters. People with this Driver feel ‘OK’ when they work very hard, whether they actually accomplish something or not. At least they tried. They have a tendency to make things complicated and to lose themselves in detail instead of seeing the broad outlines. The classic message from school would have been ‘needs to Try Harder next time.’

PLEASE PEOPLE: Good team members who encourage harmony in the team. Has empathy and understanding and helps quieter members within the team. Agrees with everyone, even with both sides of a disagreement. Can be reluctant to offer an opinion of their own. A person that is in an active Please People Driver often cares more about other peoples needs than about themselves. The internal message is that you’re only ‘OK’ when you take care of others and that doing so will make others appreciate you. People with this Driver tend to see themselves as responsible for how other people feel.

BE PERFECT: Has a quest for perfection and a reputation for producing accurate reliable work. They check facts, prepare well and pays attention to detail. Can get bogged down with detail. Wants to record everything and uses long words and long sentences. This Driver makes a person seek perfection in one or several ways. Often in terms of maintaining a completely flawless exterior or maybe in trying to achieve perfect speech, perfect arrangements, perfect presentation, etc. The internal message is “You ought to be better”. You are not good enough if a mistake happens. Instead a person with this Driver will constantly try to improve themselves hoping to one day become accepted. By whom? We do not know!

BE STRONG: Stays clam under pressure. Feels energised in a crisis. Thinks logically when other panic. Can stay emotionally detached. Logical thinker. Talks in monotone. Appears to be like a poker player with no emotion. Attempt to solve problems by being strong and carrying heavy loads both physically and mentally. The internal message that a person with a Be Strong Driver has is that you should not let others think that you are weak.

HURRY UP: Can work fast and achieves a lot in a short space of time. Responds well to short deadlines. Likes having a lot of things to do. Talks very fast, gets impatient, interrupts and finishes other peoples sentences, fidgets and may drum fingers on table. This Driver can lead to rushing things when it is not necessary and sometimes even when it would be better to take time. The internal message that people with a Hurry Up Driver gives themselves is that they will be late for something. A feeling of not being good enough if not in a hurry.

I work with people to help them increase their effectiveness and unlock their potential.

Email me at or call 01828 632 199


One thought on “Transactional Analysis – Drivers:

  1. Thank you – I have a therapist but your clarification is a great help so I am prepared before I go into my next session and I didn’t have to wait till my next session to understand my ‘hurry up driver’ (or is that my hurru up driver – always impatient and wanting to know things now!!!!!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.