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Leadership: How are your backseat driving skills?

You know when you’re driving somewhere with your spouse/partner/friend, and they keep saying, “watch out” or “there’s a stop sign up here” or “it’s left here” or they seem to be gripping pretty tightly? No? It’s just me? Just my husband? (I actually attribute much of this to how much more we drive ourselves more, how so NOT used to being a passenger we are.)

Are you ever thinking, could you just sit and relax? Trust me and have some confidence? Could you support my driving? Trust that I’m doing my best?

Have you ever had them say that to you? (I can’t even imagine how this goes for those of you with kids of the driving age!)

What it be like if they actually did support your driving and have complete faith in you? What would driving in that experience be like for you? If you were the passenger, and could have complete faith in your driving partner, what would that experience be like for you?

If we pretend the car is actually a meeting/workshop/presentation someone else is leading, and you are “passively” participating, what comes up? When someone on your team or a coworker is presenting, do you sit there, thinking supportive thoughts, looking for any opportunity to jump in and support them? Or, do you grip the seat tightly, hoping it doesn’t go poorly? Do you jump in with the equivalent of “make that left”? Are you looking at your phone/tablet/laptop? Multi-tasking?

How could you show up differently? How could you be the BEST backseat driver for other leaders in your circle? How could you act like one of those Nascar pitstop team members?

What might be the benefits? For you? In either position? For them? In both positions? What might be the greater benefits to the team and how it works together?

One way I work with my clients on this, is to invite them to choose one word, one way of being they want to focus on bringing to the meetings of the day. Do they want to bring “ease,” “respect,” “connection,” “curiosity,” “fun”? If they focus on bringing that to the meeting, they inevitably become a better backseat driver to the leader of the meeting/workshop/presentation.

What might you take on tomorrow? 

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