Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the customer gets out of it.

Peter Drucker

Do You Have the Right Driver Managers?

Posted by Greg Mechler

Over the last 10 years we have completed a number assignments that included a study of what factors (skills, knowledge, attributes) actually separated high performing driver managers from low performing managers.  We used measurable performance indicators – miles driven, fuel economy, on-time pickup and delivery, driver turnover, and safety to separate top and bottom performance.  We also eliminated anyone hired in the last six months.  We noted at least a 20% difference in performance between the top and bottom performers on every factor. These studies were done using analysis of performance data, direct observation of high and low performers, documentation of behaviors, and administration of PDP ProScan behavioral assessment surveys.

The results were quite clear – high performers used distinctly different behaviors, had different personality attributes and used different skills.  In the remainder of this article I will briefly contrast the differences.  

Remember – “people leave managers, not companies” Is this true for your company?

TOP PERFORMERS VS BOTTOM PERFORMERS

We found five major areas of job performance.  We also found that there were distinct performance differences in each area.  The following chart outlines the differences:

Performance Areas

Top Performers

Bottom Performers

BASIC SKILLS

 

 

Financial /Business

Geography

DOT Regulations/Safety

Operating System Proficiency

Keyboard Ability

Knows the business and the geography of the US.  Utilizes HOS and pays attention to safety.  Excellent keyboard and software skills

Poor understanding of business basics, no awareness of basic geography, does not pay attention to safety and has poor computer skill

DAILY WORK FLOW

 

 

Tracking trucks & loads

Monitoring

Keeping Data Current

Priority Setting

Follow Through

Freight System Knowledge

Top DMs tracked loads constantly, they updated the system while talking to driver, they set priorities for their board, they knew the freight network and worked with drivers to et better loads.  Took an active approach to planning for each driver

Did not use freight flow to help drivers, got behind on updates, did not follow through, sat back and waited for things to happen – not proactive

 

 

 

ADMINISTRATIVE/ORGANIZATIONAL

 

 

Scheduling

Planning

Organization of Work

Planned ahead, scheduled driver activities – home time, physicals, maintenance, etc.  Were well organized and prepared for whatever happened

Work area disorganized, could not find important information, did not plan ahead just reacted to events as they occurred

 

 

 

WAY WITH PEOPLE

 

 

Communication

Problem Solving

Empathy

Advocacy

Meeting Driver Needs

Clear, concise and timely communicators, used a logical problem solving process, was empathetic to driver concerns, tried to meet driver’s needs when possible

Did not communicate clearly sometimes not at all, showed little concern for driver needs, did not go to bat for drivers, blamed drivers for any problems

 

 

 

LEADERSHIP SKILLS

 

 

High Performance Standards

Setting Expectations

Coaching & Training

Recognition

Teamwork

Work Habits

Set high standards for drivers and themselves, coached drivers when they did not meet standards, praised drivers whenever they did a good job, were positive teammates with safety, customer service, maintenance and others, came to work early stayed focused during work day

Did not set or communicate any goals, did help drivers perform better, did not praise drivers, caused problems with other departments, came in late, did not work diligently during shift

 

 

 

 

PERSONALITY TYPE DIFFERENCES

In our assessment of fleet manager performance I found distinct personality trait differences between top performers and bottom performers.  The PDP® ProScan assessment was used to survey all fleet managers.  PDP® ProScan measures seven significant behavioral factors.  Traits include dominance, extroversion, patience, conformity and logic.  Two other factors measured are energy level and energy style.  The differences are briefly described in the following chart.

 

Trait/Factor

Top Performers

Bottom Performers

 

 

 

Dominance

Mid to high dominance – assertive, decisive, confident, competitive

Low to mid dominance – unassertive, compliant, cooperative, humble

Extroversion

No significant differences

No significant difference

Patience

Fast paced, high sense of urgent

Steady, not urgent

Conformity

See big picture, creative, take calculated risks

Detail focused, expect perfection

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TO STRENGTHEN THE DRIVER MANAGER ROLE

1.Define the job clearly – focus on desired results such as miles driven, safety compliance, driver turnover, customer service, fuel economy and more

2.Communicate expectations to everyone – make sure people know what is expected and what is not

3.Use the performance expectations as hiring criteria

4.Establish performance objectives for each driver manager

5.Provide training on an individualized basis

6.Reward performance results that exceed expectations

7.Measure performance, hold people accountable

 



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