If you do any business travel, you’ve likely been exposed to all kinds of characters who drive cabs or shuttle buses. One driver might be extremely talkative, another very quiet. One might drive aggressively, another show too much caution. You’ve been there!
One time, I was the only passenger on a shuttle bus ride from the airport to my hotel. The driver seemed uncomfortable and jittery, even nervous. He asked no questions about my flight, where I came from-nothing. Not a word.
Fine with me. I like to sit quietly and think.
While on the freeway, we came across road construction. Two lanes had narrowed due to a concrete barricade on the left and no shoulder on the right. Suddenly to our right, two vehicles were merging into our lane while, to our left, a couple of vehicles were trying to pass. With nowhere to go, this nervous driver seemed extra irritated. He slowed down just enough to let the vehicles on the left pass us, then quickly moved into their lane while avoiding a collision with the vehicles merging from the right. Whew!
Nervously he looked into the rearview mirror to check my reaction.
Sensing something was bothering him, I simply said, “You played that well-nice job.”
Hearing that, he beamed from ear to ear, and his whole demeanor changed. I was glad I could make him smile.
Remember the power of positive reinforcement. A few well-timed words that take seconds to say can earn you long-lasting loyalty and engagement from anyone.
Conversely, a few poorly expressed words or no acknowledgement at all can negatively affect your relationships and even cause disengagement.
How many positive messages, acknowledgments, or statements of encouragement have you delivered this week at work? At home?
You still have time for more.