Bulldozer Personalities in the Workplace

D type personalities (“D” referring to the DISC personality profile system) are the bulldozers among us that concentrate on completing tasks, often times at the expense of the people around them.

These are the General Pattons of this world, the Jack Welchs, the Stormin’ Normans (Norman Schwarzkopf) the Mr T’s. These are the individuals that drive hard towards their goal and stop for nothing on their way to achieving this goal! I have a confession to make…..I am a D type personality. I am often guilty of being way to task focused and not enough people focused. So far this sounds rather negative, however, without D type people who stay focused on task completion there are some things in this world (including some things in your business and maybe in your family) that might not ever get done.

D’s, like any of the personality traits, have strengths and weaknesses. I have summarized these traits below;


  • Wants immediate results – impatient
  • Loves challenge
  • Very competitive
  • Initiates action
  • Confident
  • Risk taker
  • Makes snap decisions but can change a decision when new data comes in
  • Questions popular thinking
  • Takes authority
  • Solves problems
  • Manages trouble
  • Task oriented

Required Work Environment:

  • Independence
  • Authority
  • Power
  • Frequent and new challenges
  • Individual accomplishment
  • Wide scope of operations
  • Direct answers
  • Freedom from controls or supervision
  • Ability to advance or be promoted
  • Varied activities

Needs People Who:

  • Review pros and cons of decisions
  • Are cautious in decision making and calculate risks
  • Have empathy towards others

To be more effective:

  • Must have challenging work
  • Must pace themselves and relax
  • Must understand that they need others
  • Must take the time required for decisions and must try to have enough data to make the proper decision.

Major Strengths:

  • Efficient organizers
  • Focused
  • Results oriented
  • Responsible for actions and decisions

Major Limitations:

  • Lack of people skills
  • Making decisions without all of the information required

Dealing with Ds:

  • Start with the bottom line
  • Look for mutual areas of agreement (mutual wins)
  • Don’t lead up to the task at hand with small talk. Get to the point.
  • Ask “What” questions not “How” questions.
  • Stick to facts, not opinion.
  • Don’t over-dominate.
  • Don’t patronize.
  • Be prepared and organized.
  • Be clear and direct.

If you are a D type personality, I’m speaking from personal experience here, your biggest challenge is to ensure that you pay attention to the people issues around you and not just focus on the task(s) at hand. You need to patiently consider information from multiple sources and multiple biases before making decisions. Don’t make a major decision today based on one source of information and change your mind tomorrow when you get another piece of information. You need to take time to genuinely listen to others and socially interact. Don’t make the mistake that I did early in my marriage when I asked my wife to cut the chit-chat and get to the point……a very bad mistake which I have never repeated!

If you are managing a D, be aware of these things and provide a challenging environment with as much autonomy as possible. When interacting with a D, make sure you get to the point, stick to the facts and don’t waste time with idle chit-chat.

If you follow these basic guidelines your interaction with D type personalities will be less antagonistic and substantially more productive!