Learning when to drive
Photo courtesy of calico_13 on Flickr, Some rights reserved
Leading is tough. The vision of your department, your company, the completion of the next project, or the careers of those you’re leading can rest on your shoulders. Added pressure changes perception.
My girlfriend and I went on a Best Buy expedition this weekend to pick up a new TV, a WiFi-enabled Blu Ray DVD player (highly recommended), and the Windows 7 OS for a newly built computer that I dying to fire up.
She owns a car in the city and I don’t, so she’s typically driving everywhere. However, the adrenaline from knowing that I would soon be standing in the spectacle that is electronics heaven made me want to take the reigns, so I drove us around town.
San Francisco is a relatively easy city to drive in. It’s small and, for the most part, grid-like. However, I still managed to get us turned around a few times with what I called “short cuts,” and what my girlfriend called “the wrong way.”
Nevertheless, just as one of my short cuts seemed to be turning into a move of pure brilliance I looked over at my girlfriend for a well deserved bragging session. She was gazing out of the car window.
She’s from here and knows SF well, but the way she was staring you would think it was her first trip to the big city. It was an adorable expression (of which she has many), so I lovingly inquired, “What’s up?”
“Life looks so different when you’re the passenger. I’m always driving. Guess I miss a lot of this.”
She said a lot with those words. While I was getting turned around because I hadn’t driven in awhile, it seemed that she was seeing the city for the first time in a long time.
When leading, we see things differently, just like driving. We often get in the driver’s seat, hit the gas, aim and get to our destination as fast as we can. If it’s somewhere that we’ve been plenty of times, we throw it in autopilot and barely remember the trip.
From time to time let someone else drive. This is a growth opportunity for you and others involved. Like my girlfriend, you’ll see things that you’ve seen many times before, but it may just feel like the first time.