What Does It Take To Be The Best?

Topic 22444 | Page 1

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Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

In a recent conversation someone asked how to handle drivers who complain all the time. I came up with a list of traits that Top Tier Drivers have. They are:

  • Ambitious - they want to turn as many miles as possible
  • Efficient - they try to squeeze everything they can out of their available time
  • Creative - they find innovative ways to work through the challenges they face
  • Independent - they don't need anyone to hold their hand
  • Friendly - they know how to get along with people and work well within a team
  • Lobbyists - they continuously push for more miles or to move appointment times ahead
  • Humble - they understand they're an important part of a system, but not the only important part
  • Consistent - they know you can't rest on your laurels but most perform at the highest level consistently
  • Communicators - they know you must keep dispatch and customers updated at all times
  • Safe - they make safety their first priority always and never put a scratch on that truck
  • Flexible - they understand that change is the only constant out there and they roll with it
  • Willing - they take on the tough jobs and do whatever it takes to get the job done safely
  • Poised - they remain calm and keep a clear mind under pressure

That's a pretty good list but I'd love to add to it. Let's make a Master List Of Successful Traits For Top Tier Drivers. Don't worry about any overlap or synonyms. Go for it. List any trait you can think of that's important for achieving happiness and success in this industry and give a one sentence description of it.

As a bonus, add a story to it from your experiences as a student in training or as a professional driver. I'm going to add some myself as we go along.

Truck drivers are famous complainers. People who complain all the time either don't understand what it takes to solve their problems or they're not willing. With this master list we'll be able to diagnose anyone's problems and get them pointed in the right direction toward happiness and success. All they need is the willingness to evolve and the desire make it happen.

I'm definitely going to use this material in podcasts and articles and other places around the website so now is your chance to help new and existing drivers understand what it takes to achieve the highest levels in this industry.

If you were a trucking coach, what traits would you teach your students to develop? Let's hear it! Everyone find a way to give at least one.

CHillR's Comment
member avatar

Cool headed, honest, adventurous

Unholychaos's Comment
member avatar

Squeezing every bit of clock out of the day. If I don't necessarily NEED a pilot/flying J for a shower in the morning, I'll opt for the mom n pop another 30m down the road. Easier parking, usually quieter, and it's 30m I don't have to drive the next day, leaving that much more time on my 14. Also, getting to your fuel stop the night before and fueling up while simultaneously logging your pretrip. This was going to be important for me last week as I was running VERY tight on my 70; had barely enough time to make it home after delivering the current load. Yeah it may have only been a difference of 10-15m, but when you're cutting it that close, every second counts.

Fatsquatch 's Comment
member avatar

P A T I E N C E

You can't be That Guy, losing your cool and flipping out when (not if) something goes sideways and throws a monkey in your wrench. Screaming at the receiving clerk because you don't have your bills yet, laying on the air horn because the truck in front of you at the fuel island hasn't moved, snarling and throwing your permit book at the weighmaster when he pulls you in for an inspection: these things will only do more harm than good.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

I was thinking of the phrase "Follows Orders" but that seems too subservient. I think Fatsquatch's word P A T I E N C E would be best.

In my meaning, you need to be patient in what your Driver Leader asks you to do. After all you and your DL are a money-making team.

My story: I was heading to a trip that would get me home the next day for some home-time. I arrived at shipper a few hours early. This is a paper factory, and I was to pick up 7 rolls of paper. Well, the shipping office told me my order wouldn't be ready for another four hours. No big deal, not the first time for this delay. Drove to the nearby truck stop to wait it out. Called my DL to let her know.

Four hours later, I called the shipping office, saving a needless trip. "You have to wait till 10pm." - making an eight hour wait. Another call to the DL. Yes, I was upset, and no, my "boss" couldn't re-assign me. The 10pm phone call led to an additional 8 hour wait: "6am" they told me. I was P.O.'d to put it nicely.

The next morning I got up to learn my wait would be a 24 hour delay. I'm supposed to be home, and I had to wait an extra day! Livid about this jerking around was an understatement.

I considered breaking the rules and heading home anyway. Then I considered I'd soon be looking for a new job. At any rate I already was one of my DL's go-to drivers. I did get home, a day late, and I was still on the short list of dependable people. Bottom line, I feel staying on that list was worth it.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

A good driver needs toughness of character.

We do not need to be physically really strong for most types of freight.

But we require a certain mental toughness and toughness of character to get us through all the challenges we face in this line of work. We need to be ready to adapt to any schedule, any delay, any temporary hardship in order to make our appointments on time and avoid getting upset when every little thing does not go our way.

In a recent conversation someone asked how to handle drivers who complain all the time. I came up with a list of traits that Top Tier Drivers have. They are:

  • Ambitious - they want to turn as many miles as possible
  • Efficient - they try to squeeze everything they can out of their available time
  • Creative - they find innovative ways to work through the challenges they face
  • Independent - they don't need anyone to hold their hand
  • Friendly - they know how to get along with people and work well within a team
  • Lobbyists - they continuously push for more miles or to move appointment times ahead
  • Humble - they understand they're an important part of a system, but not the only important part
  • Consistent - they know you can't rest on your laurels but most perform at the highest level consistently
  • Communicators - they know you must keep dispatch and customers updated at all times
  • Safe - they make safety their first priority always and never put a scratch on that truck
  • Flexible - they understand that change is the only constant out there and they roll with it
  • Willing - they take on the tough jobs and do whatever it takes to get the job done safely
  • Poised - they remain calm and keep a clear mind under pressure

That's a pretty good list but I'd love to add to it. Let's make a Master List Of Successful Traits For Top Tier Drivers. Don't worry about any overlap or synonyms. Go for it. List any trait you can think of that's important for achieving happiness and success in this industry and give a one sentence description of it.

As a bonus, add a story to it from your experiences as a student in training or as a professional driver. I'm going to add some myself as we go along.

Truck drivers are famous complainers. People who complain all the time either don't understand what it takes to solve their problems or they're not willing. With this master list we'll be able to diagnose anyone's problems and get them pointed in the right direction toward happiness and success. All they need is the willingness to evolve and the desire make it happen.

I'm definitely going to use this material in podcasts and articles and other places around the website so now is your chance to help new and existing drivers understand what it takes to achieve the highest levels in this industry.

If you were a trucking coach, what traits would you teach your students to develop? Let's hear it! Everyone find a way to give at least one.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Oh you guys are fantastic! You've already named quite a few important ones I left off the initial list, which is certainly growing now, but I know it isn't complete. It takes so much to thrive in this industry. I want to hear more.

I'm definitely going to be adding some stories too from my own experiences.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Key City's Comment
member avatar

I would also say bring patient.

People at my CDL school get really mad and start cussing and ramming the shifter like they are trying to break it on the backing skills.

I’ve learned if your frustrated with yourself even trying to learn it’s not going to help cussing and getting all emotional. What are you going to do at a customer? Or working in general? Get heated and hit something?

I take it as I’m learning. Learn from what went wrong and try to take what I did wrong and translate it to my next try.

I’ve been backing slow as possible. I was told I’m a “half a mile an hour guy backing up”. You know what though? I get it where I want it to go every time. I drive the vehicle I do not get it ****ed off and let it drive me.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
PJ's Comment
member avatar

Proffessional appearance: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Folks will make a quick judgement based on their first visual clue. It’s just a fact of life. Look proffessional and you will usually be treated as such.

We’ve all seen drivers that are unkept, and I don’t mean messy hair from the wind.... Wearing sweats or even pajama pants with flip flops. They look like they should be standing on a street corner with a cardboard sign instead of driving a expensive truck. That proffessional appearance and a good attitude will often dictate how much someone is willing to help you out when things don’t run smoothly.

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

Also, getting to your fuel stop the night before and fueling up while simultaneously logging your pretrip.

Be careful with this, it could get you in trouble with Dot. You should check with your logs or safety department before doing that one.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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