I’m in the car driving to work along Dallas Parkway, the service road that runs along Dallas North Tollway. There’s a car exiting the Tollway, merging into my lane from the left. I slow down to let it go ahead, and it slows down too. I speed up, and it speeds up. Then we both slow down again. Finally, I made the decision to punch the gas and let the car merge behind me.
The driver, in view of my rear view mirror, is visibly irate, yelling and pumping fists in the air, and making some other unfriendly gestures to communication frustration.
All I was trying to do was let the driver go in front of me, and that was the reaction I got. I gave the driver a courtesy wave, and continued my relaxing drive to my office, feeling sorry for whoever that person will be interacting with when she gets to her destination. Does she have employees that will be looking to her for leadership and inspiration? Does she react to misunderstandings at work in the same way as she did to the miscommunication that we experienced on the road?
I don’t know what that driver does for a living, or if that individual leads others, but I know what it does to teams when their leaders don’t know how to keep their cool. It results in resentment, disengagement, lower productivity, and lower profit.
Dale Carnegie said,
Thanks to committing to and practicing this principle, I cannot remember the last time I lost my cool like the driver in that other car. But it didn’t happen overnight. The commitment is long-term, and the rewards not only impact my bottom line in business, but enable me to enjoy my personal life and relationships to a greater degree.