11 Aug

Signal Your Intentions

Hey, what about that turn signal?

I was driving to an early appointment the other day. I’m in the middle left lane of a 4-lane road. A big white SUV is in the far-left lane just ahead of me. No other traffic on the road. 

Where did that come from? 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.

The SUV never put a turn signal on. If it had, I would have lagged back and let him over. Instead he put both of us at risk by abruptly cutting in front of me. To top it off, flipping me the bird out the window. What? I did nothing wrong!

Hey, I know this was a minor discourtesy and much worse happens—deadly road rage incidents abound. 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 was asked to brief a certain portion of the project at the Friday client meeting. The day prior, she had left early for a medical appointment knowing she was well-prepared with her update. When her turn came at the Friday meeting, she began her explanation. After a few sentences, her manager cut her off and profusely apologized to the client, then turned to her and said, “Didn’t you get the word? We cut that part from the project.”

Here 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, it was a non-incident. No accident happened.

This was a team and manager she had 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 was subtly diminished. Her brain’s self-protection radar was activated. A shadow of doubt cast on a manager she once felt ‘had her back.’

How would this have been different if someone had thought to let her know about the change in the project? 

How often do we fail to signal our own intentions?

What’s the impact on others?

Photo Credit: Photo by Mark Stosberg on Unsplash

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *