Drive For Results Vs. Need for Approval

Successful leaders have high drive for results (hi-DFR) and low need for approval (lo-NFA).

The rule:

The rule of drive: As drive for results (DFR) goes up – social courtesy goes down.

Who has time for “please” and “thank you” when there’s so much to do?

The exception to the above rule is the courage hi-NFA subordinates feel when they’re given authority by leadership. In this case, the NFA from higher-ups may result in aggressive behavior toward lower-downs.


There is an inverse relationship between Drive For Results and Need for Approval.

Corollary to the Rule of Drive: Hi-NFA results in lo-DFR. Put simply, the more a leader needs approval from others, the less courage he/she has to drive for results.

The genius of DFR:

Social courtesies irritate geniuses. 

Answers are obvious to hi-DFR geniuses. A genius knows the answer without thinking. How others feel is an inconvenience.

A genius thinks:

  1. I’m right.
  2. Shut up.
  3. Follow instructions.
  4. Thank me later.

4 skills that maximize hi-DFR:

  1. Connect authentically. Hi-DFR leaders are typically the worst at self-awareness. Get a mentor or coach. A little softening of the edges goes a long way to building relationships and increasing results.
  2. Delegate aggressively. Learn how to delegate authority more than tasks. Hi-DFR makes you task oriented, but delegating authority allows others to experience DFR. Creativity is often a bonus.
  3. Correct kindly. Hi-DFR leaders intimidate others. Smile. Soften your tone. Slow your rate of speech.
  4. Affirm frequently. Hi-DFR leaders have low need for gratitude. Results are their own reward. A pat on the back is wasted energy that could be used to get the next result. Learn to celebrate hard work. You may need a coach or mentor for this one, too.

What is the dark side of High Drive For Results?

How might leaders with high Drive For Results maximize their genius?

*This post is a continuation of: HOW TO BE A BADASS WITHOUT BECOMING A JERK-HOLE