This article by Srikumar Rao originally appeared on the Rao Institute.
I am not good with technology.
Even simple technology like Google Maps can confuse me.
I was heading down to the beach a few days ago with the firm intention of apricating for a few hours and catching up on my reading.
Google Maps asked me to bear slightly left. I think I bore more left than I should have. I do such things often.
Google Maps did not say. “You dummy, you missed the turn again.”
In a calm voice, totally devoid of insult and recrimination, she asked me to “make a legal U-turn” as soon as it was safe to do so. She stayed with me with a calm, reassuring voice until I eventually reached the sea. And when I headed back home, she did not tell me to pay more attention and not make any dumb turns.
What do you do when your child or your spouse or your direct report makes the same mistake repeatedly despite your ever so clear and lucid directions?
Do you think that your barely suppressed undertones of irritation and exasperation help matters?
Google Maps has no ego. She is not interested in being ‘right’ or showing you how ‘wrong’ you are. She does not lose her temper when you repeatedly make mistakes. She does not care whether you make ‘new’ mistakes or the same one over and over.
She simply tells you where to go from wherever your meanderings take you.
All she cares about is getting you where you want to go. And she is very good at this.
So, learn a lesson from Google Maps. Drop all irritation at the dumb mistakes “they” make and simply focus on helping them take the next step from where they are. And if they screw up, help them rectify their error.
You will be pleasantly surprised at how much better you become as a leader and how much more your team accomplishes. And I will guarantee your relations with your family improves.
Watch this four-minute video that I found deeply moving. And keep that asperity out of your voice.
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Published: September 16, 2022
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