How to Hone Your Leadership Skills on the Road

Woman in Car Make-up

In the hurried pace of the world today, it seems that most people are almost too focused on themselves. There’s evidence of this everywhere, and the road is no exception. It’s nearly impossible to ignore the speeding drivers, eager to cut others off to gain a few feet of advantage on their commute.

You’ve no doubt seen it before, that glance you get from underneath their Maui Jim sunglasses as they cut you off.

These motorists miss more than opportunities to slow down. They miss out on the opportunity to grow as people and hone skills that could have a significant impact on their lives.

Skills Learned on the Road

Patience

Often, drivers are unaware of all of the skills and abilities they consistently use to drive safely. As an example, patience is a skill that is often practiced while driving, and should be used regularly. Patience is needed to allow other drivers to move through traffic without endangering yourself or others. When speaking of patience and cars, one cannot ignore Honda’s troubled past and their patience to overcome their difficult past. But because of Honda’s perseverance, they eventually became one of the largest car companies in the world. A leader in the auto industry.

Observation

Another skill used while driving is observation. The ability to observe your surroundings is vital and could potentially save your life or the lives of others. You need to be aware of pedestrians, other vehicles moving around you, road hazards, emergency vehicles, and weather elements which could affect the way you drive.
A third skill you can hone while driving is critical thinking. Being on the road is a great opportunity to practice critical thinking, and most of the time, drivers are forced to do just that whether they realize it or not.

Responsiveness

Drivers must constantly respond to their surroundings. They may need to swerve to avoid others cars, brake quickly in heavy traffic, or simply speed up or slow down to match the speed of others on the road. You need to make split-second decisions to keep yourself, your passengers, pedestrians, and other motorists safe. You also need to navigate, follow signs, and remember and obey laws. All of these require critical thinking skills that enhance your ability to drive safely and efficiently.

Keeping Cool

A final skill used while driving that carries over into leadership is the ability to handle stressful situations. While driving, you must often accept stressors that are beyond your control and manage your emotions so that you can continue to drive safely and with a clear head. These stressors may include the weather, traffic, or even the behavior of other drivers. The ability to remain calm in the face of adversity while driving will ensure your ability to make safe decisions with a clear head.

Translating Skills to Leadership

Many of the skills learned by being a courteous, aware driver could easily be translated to leadership. For example, patience is an essential skill that many of the world’s best leaders possess. When working with other people, you need to have the patience to give them the time they need to complete tasks, or the patience to listen and offer support to followers.

As a leader, there will be many times you have to explain the same thing several times or wait for others to follow up on various items.

Observation is also a necessary skill. As a leader you are often expected to maintain a high standard of work, and you should be expecting your employees to do the same. By having the ability to observe and monitor others’ work, you can be certain they are meeting your expectations. You can also be aware of your surroundings which allows you to monitor morale, work ethic, and other important details.

Critical thinking skills are also necessary in the workplace, especially for those in leadership positions. As a leader, you must be able to quickly solve problems as they arise. Often it falls on leaders to find solutions and implement them. Leaders must also strategize ways to make the job easier or more efficient. Being able to think and react to situations in the workplace will enhance your ability to lead and perform even the most complicated of job functions.

Managing stress is also a vital skill for any good leader. Often, being a leader is extremely rewarding on both a personal and professional level. However, there will be many difficulties as well. When your employees or company aren’t doing well, you could be held responsible. You may have dozens of responsibilities, yet a new issue could arise and you need to try and prioritize in a way that still allows you to complete everything. By managing stress and maintaining your composure, you will be able to see the situations that arise for what they are, and you can make decisions based on logic and experience.

Everything about being a driver, from the driver’s test to the first used car loans to the daily task of getting from one place to another is full of possibilities for growth. It is important to remember this while out on the road, so that you can both enjoy the ride and learn from it.

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Robert Cordray

Robert Cordray is a freelance writer with over 20 years of business experience
He does the occasional business consult to help increase employee morale
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web

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3 responses to “How to Hone Your Leadership Skills on the Road

  1. Great analogy, many leaders should recall that ”there is no I in team”. Nothing can be accomplished without the assistance or support of others. That could be from the dock worker, administrative assistant to the C-Suite, top leaders.

    Like

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