Many of you may have heard about racecar driver Danica Patrick’s reaction to a crash last week. She was understandably upset about being wrecked for the third time in four weeks, however it was her apparent insensitivity to another driver that hit the airwaves. Danica was being interviewed immediately after the crash while Aric Almirola was being cut from his racecar and airlifted to a hospital after suffering broken vertebra in his back, and her initial comments were all about her frustration and bad luck. It took almost two minutes before she expressed concern for Aric.
While it’s unlikely anyone believes that Danica would wish harm to a fellow driver, her comments seemed insensitive and self-centered. What can a leader learn from this situation?
All Eyes Are On The Leader
First, as a leader, it’s important to remember that all eyes are on you. Your employees are always watching you, whether you realize it or not. Some of them will observe your behavior and then emulate you, with the assumption that is how you’d like them to behave as well.
A Leader Remains in Control
Second, if you feel the need to have an emotional outburst, excuse yourself from the situation until you can gain control of yourself. Danica could have said, “No comment”, and waited until later to be interviewed. By giving the interview while she was still in “fight or flight” mode, she was unable to access higher levels of emotional intelligence and reasoning.
A Strong Leader Takes Responsibility
Third, Danica talked about bad luck, and said that “every time I’m doing better, something stupid happens”. How would you respond if your employees complained in that manner? A strong leader should take responsibility and look at the situation as an opportunity to learn something. It’s often the most difficult times that lead to the greatest growth for an individual or a company.
A Leader Remains Positive
Finally, let’s remember that our words and our attitude have a significant impact on our success. If we focus on the negative side of things, we’ll continue to make that our truth. However, if we focus on the potential opportunity to learn and grow, that will soon become our truth.
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