Calvin, a Shop Manager for a construction group in Salem, OR, told Session 7A of Turbo’s Leadership Development Lab (LDL):
“On April 12, 2016, I was headed towards I-5 in the fast lane at about 65 mph when a bright red Lincoln Continental came off the 213 to the I-205 South ramp and crossed three lanes of traffic intending to occupy the space my pick-up was in! The vehicle did just that, causing me to fully engage the ABS brake function, along with ten or so vehicles behind me. We went from 65 to 35 in roughly 100 yards, you could smell rubber burning. I gripped the wheel and waited for the whiplash. Then, just as quickly, the red Lincoln veered into the slow lane. I was primed for action as I pulled beside the car, both middle fingers loaded, passenger window down for a verbal assault the driver would not soon forget. As I pulled next to the car to explain my position on their driving ability, I saw two tiny hands at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel and a very elderly lady, barely able to see over the dashboard. Then, at that second, every last bit of anger melted out of me! I was in the right, but she deserved the right of way!
“The lesson I learned from this experience is anger and emotional reactions come on quickly, calm, natural responses take more time. I want to work on reversing those two emotions and the time they take to engage! Sound decisions don’t generally come from emotions, they come from facts and a full understanding of the situation.
“The action I call you to take is to get the facts and think before you act. This may stop you from doing or saying something you will regret! Take a second, calm down, don’t let your emotions in the heat of the moment drive your actions.
“The benefit you will gain is you will become more rational and make better decisions when emotions of fear are not a part of the process. You will make decisions based on facts, a complete knowledge of the situation, people will see this and consider you a leader they can rely on for guidance.”
This story communicates in extraordinary ways the importance of holding back and counting to ten before reacting out of anger to the behaviors of others. As a leader, you must exercise a kind of mature judgement that is required to earn the trust and respect required to successfully lead others for the long haul. You and your team are not involved in a sprint.
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