You Played That Well … Nice Job

If you do any amount of travel for business, you likely have been exposed to all kinds of different characters who drive cab or a shuttle bus.

On one trip you might experience someone who is extremely talkative, or very quiet, or an aggressive driver, or an overly cautious driver who doesn’t appear to know where they’re going … or something else.

I have to share with you a recent ride I took in a shuttle bus from the airport to a hotel I was staying at. I was the only passenger.

I had a nervous driver. He just seemed uncomfortable and jittery. No discussion, ‘how was your flight’ or ‘where you from’ … nothing … not a word.

Which was just fine with me, because I like to sit quietly and think.

While on the freeway to the hotel, we came across some road construction where two lanes became extra narrow with a concrete barricade on the left and no shoulder on the right.

Suddenly on the right, two vehicles were merging into the lane we were in and a couple of vehicles to our left were trying to pass. With nowhere to go, we were being squeezed out and the nervous driver was now extra nervous. He slowed down just enough to let the vehicles on the left pass us, quickly moved into their lane while avoiding collision with the merging vehicles.

Nervously, he looked into the rear view mirror to check my reaction.

Knowing he was nervous, sensing something was bothering him … I simply said, ‘you played that well … nice job.’

He beamed from ear to ear and his whole demeanor changed for the remaining 10 minutes of the trip.

I’m not positive what caused his initial discomfort, but I was glad I was able to make him smile.

My leadership tip for you this week is to never forget about the importance and power of positive reinforcement. A few well timed words, that take seconds to say, can earn you long lasting loyalty and engagement from anyone.

A few poorly expressed words, or an obvious none acknowledgement, can negatively impact your relationship and create disengagement.

So, think about this … how many positive reinforcement messages or acknowledgements have you delivered this week ?

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