- On July 20, 2017
I was driving to early morning yoga class the other day. I’m in the middle left lane of a 4-lane road. A large white SUV is in the far left lane just ahead of me. No other traffic on the road.
I’m startled as a flash of white crosses the lane in front of me and speeds towards the exit two more lanes over. I instinctively do a death grip on the steering wheel and hit the brakes. Where did that come from?
The SUV didn’t put a turn signal on. If it had, I would have lagged back and let him over. But instead he put both of us at risk by abruptly cutting in front of me. And then, flipping me the bird out the window. I did nothing wrong!
Hey, I know this was a minor discourtesy and much worse happens–a driver was shot in a road rage incident in my neighborhood just yesterday. But here’s the lesson that came through–How often do we neglect to signal our intention when dealing with others? And what does that inattention leave behind?
A colleague shared this story of when she was asked to brief a certain portion of the project at the Friday client meeting. She had to take off the day prior for a personal appointment. When her turn came at the meeting, she began her update. After a few sentences, her manager interrupted and apologized to the client, then turned to her and said, “Oh didn’t you know? We cut that part from the project.”
She had been driving the speed limit in her lane. Then without warning, her manager swerved in front of her and essentially called into question her competence, a professional flipping the bird. In the manager’s mind, maybe it was a non-incident. No accident happened.
This was a team and manager she enjoyed working with. Now she felt blindsided and embarrassed in front of them and the client. She began to question her own value if they didn’t think enough of her to let her know of the ‘lane change.’ The security and certainty she once felt is subtly diminished. Her brain’s self-protection radar is activated. A small shadow of doubt on a manager she once felt ‘had her back’.
How would this be different if someone had thought to let her know about the change in the project?
How often do we fail to signal our intentions?
Photo Credit: JMaliszewski, 2015