Friday, January 15, 2016

Experience a Whole New Ride

Ever since my wife purchased a fuel-efficient car, she has taken over the lion’s share of driving while we do our “round about town errands” through the neighborhood.  Recently, as I was sitting in the passenger’s seat I drew the following parallelisms between being a passenger and leadership. Consider…

1. As a passenger, you give up control and must trust the person driving. As the “driver” of your organization, what have you done and continue to do to gain and keep the trust of those under your care?

2. Although we always have targets of where it is we’re going before we set out, there are times my wife will take different routes then I would take and even a side trip or two. I must admit it’s difficult not to be a back seat driver and tell her to go this way or that. Interestingly enough, although different paths are taken, we always arrive to where it was we were headed. I must admit, there have been times where she knew shortcuts that escaped me, and ways around traffic through various side streets that never occurred to me, as I always would stay on the same path. At times, when we hand over a project to someone else, instead of trusting their skills and embracing a new path we become a back seat driver and micromanage to the point of stripping away their ability to navigate to where it is we all wanted to go in the first place. The benefits of exploring new paths, new alternatives, outweigh the fear of going down a road less traveled.

3. I find it curious that as a passenger I’m free to really look at my surroundings that I have passed a thousand times before. Things around me take on a different perspective, I see things for the first time…things and places that have always been. As leaders, how often are we so focused on the road before us that we lose sight of everything around us? Perhaps that’s the reason I never knew of the alternate routes that my wife had seen for years or the various resources, which were within reach. (You really don’t have to go out of a 100-mile radius to find an “expert” as sometimes they’re right down the street or next door.)

4. As a passenger, I’m able to let my mind wander a bit and take time to THINK and reflect. As a leader it can be a difficult task to find the time to think and reflect if we’re always “on the go”.

So next time you’re out and about with your spouse, ask them to drive and feel the freedom of being a passenger for a while. Consider what it would feel like to hand over the wheel to someone in your organization as it frees you to experience a whole new ride…

Be good to yourself…

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