Road Rage and Team Building

I was late, I am permanently late, I was born late and I am still trying to catch up.

I was driving to a call centre in Halifax.  If you have ever visited Halifax you will know that the last 5 miles into town from the motorway are along the most tedious stretch of “no chance to overtake” road in the country.

The car in front of me was dawdling, hesitating at lights, stopping at junctions which I could have got over.  Drifting along at 45 miles per hour where the limit was 60 and 25 in the 30‘s.

I am lucky (stupid) enough to drive a 3 litre car, allegedly it is good for 175 mph and this car in front of me is doing 25 and I am late, late, late.

And I couldn’t get past.

I spent the last 5 miles a testosterone fueled 5 meters off her rear bumper (obviously it was a woman driving).  Gesticulating wildly.  Get off the road, you are in my way.

The car in front of me pulled into the same office estate I was going to, then into the same car park and then I realised I knew the driver.  It was Joanne, she is lovely, her husband has just been diagnosed with cancer.

Oh…

I had to apologise, profusely.

The point of the story?  How much time at work do you spend bad mouthing people?  If you took the time to get to know them and understand their motivations, pressures and stresses would you see the world differently? Would your relationships be more productive?

If you run an organisation, do you invest time allowing people to listen and learn more about each other?  Could you:

  • Do some charity work together?
  • Work through the team’s Myers Briggs profiles?
  • Take them all out for a drink after work?

How can you let the people you work with get to know each other?

Team Building Road Rage

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Image by Nikoretro

Comments

  1. Hello James
    Your behaviour, my behaviour, her behaviour is a function of the way that the world occurs to each of us individually. Put exactly there is a perfect match between behaviour and the way that the world occurs to a human being.

    For example, one of my children is not putting the effort into studying as I would like him to. I can quickly jump to “he is lazy” and that is the default setting for me and I suspect many of us. Yet when I remember that behaviour is a function of the way that the world occurs then I can ask questions:

    Is it that the work is too hard for him?
    Is it that the subject matter is boring for him?
    Is it that he cannot see how that work is going to help him in his life?
    Is it that he tried, failed, tried, failed and has given up because he feels stupid?
    Is it that he wants attention and for me to spend time with him and help him?

    And once I start asking these question I become interested in him. And when I do that then I can learn about him and connect with him. And once we connect it is simply not possible to bad mouth people. Yet it is possible to expand our worlds and to build great relationships and make a difference!

    Maz

  2. Hi James,

    That’s a great story and tells me so much about empathy and the assumptions that we make. If we can get past the assumptions and get to know one another then great things can (and often do happen).

    By the way, intrigued by the car that you drive that can do 175 mph. What is it?

    Adrian

    • James Lawther says:

      It is my Wife’s company car, not only is it good for 175 mph, you don’t have to put any oil or water in it either. Everybody should have one.

      JL

  3. James,

    Since the enlighted view has already been effectively pinched by messrs Swinscoe and Iqbal, I will play the opposite card.

    You were fully justified, in the context of your high professional standards by which you want all to judge you, to wish all hell and damnation upon this feeble procrastinator. I was just plain bad luck you knew her life story and thus lost your sense of righteous indignation. Cheer up. This will not often happen.

    Martin

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