5 Qualities of an Efficient Forklift Driver



By Tom Reddon

When it comes to material handling operations, improvements in tactics and planning begin with the personnel responsible for delivering. More specifically, when it comes to forklift operations, the forklift driver is the key player. Beyond technical skills, there are certain characteristics he or she should possess before taking the wheel. Here are five key characteristics of an efficient forklift driver.


  1. Effective Communication Skills – A truly efficient forklift driver has an ability to convey and disseminate data to all pertinent parties. Whether this be tackling the assignment itself, identifying hazards, or boosting morale, advanced communication skills are an essential trait and characteristic for any forklift driver looking to get the job done.
  2. Stellar Organization Skills – When a driver gets behind the wheel, they best be organized as well. Organization skills are a vital part of any initiative whether it be keeping the appropriate paperwork handy, understanding where all the raw products and goods are, or devising a strategy to load and unload materials. It all starts with organization skills, as forklift drivers have other issues to focus on. Moreover, being organized is virtually synonymous with being efficient as one knows how to allocate and budget their attention and resources accordingly.
  3. Works Well Under Pressure – This trait holds true virtually in any industry whether it be football, material handling, or otherwise. The ability to work well under pressure is a fundamental characteristic that all leaders need to have and all efficient employees have to own. In the case of a forklift driver, the pressures can mount from all sides. Whether it be tight deadlines, tough weather conditions, or navigating in less than accommodating settings, an efficient forklift driver thrives in these scenarios. Very simply, they stay cool when the heat turns on. This can be advantageous when it comes to fostering cross-functional teams in performance of these duties.
  4. Exhibits Patience –TalentCor said it best, driving a forklift is nothing like driving a car. Thus, forklift operators may find themselves a bit perplexed, confused, and even agitated when they get behind the wheel. However, with a little bit of patience these drivers can overcome and produce remarkable results. Being patient shows that an operator is committed to safety and getting the job done right. On the contrary, drivers that rush through tasks can put themselves and their crew at risk of an accident.
  5. Shows Adaptability – Coinciding with the previous two bullet points, an efficient forklift driver can show an uncanny ability to adapt. Simply put, they know how to work with what they got. This is yet another key characteristic to own in a field as dynamic as the material handling industry. Efficient forklift operators do not fret when circumstances change, they adapt.

This story was written by Tom Reddon. Tom is a forklift specialist and blog manager for the National Forklift Exchange. He also sits on the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA) Executive Dialogue team. Follow him on Twitter at @TomReddon.

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