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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Procactive Wins Over Reactive

untitledWe’ve all been in a situation that has aggravated us … a boring meeting … conflict with a co-worker or the boss … a noisy neighbor … or similar, and we’ve reacted or responded in a way that we regret.

We need to be careful and think things through more thoroughly.

Take as an example, the recent story of a man who was shot in a movie theatre after an argument with a fellow movie-goer. The argument was over texting during the movie.

Or the man who is awaiting sentencing after being found guilty for shooting his gun at teenagers who were playing loud music at a gas station. He is facing up to 60 years !!

I’m not even going to mention the road rage incidents that happen all too frequently … often resulting in property damage and / or death.

These, among many others are very serious situations that we could all be faced with in the blink of an eye.

My leadership tip for you this week is to avoid bad situations by thinking things through in advance. I call this Thinkership – the practice of mindful preparedness.

I want you to avoid the mishaps at work and away from work utilizing the principles of Thinkership.

There are many factors involved, but here are a couple of Thinkership practices you can begin to take:

1. Slow down and start thinking – by slowing down and thinking more, you will be positioned to make better decisions faster.

2. Anticipate and plan – by anticipating situations and planning the solution before it becomes a problem for you.

We all make mistakes in our lives and there are some decisions we make in the heat of the moment that we absolutely need to avoid.

It’s best to be a leader who is more proactive than reactive.

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