I once heard a speech titled: Who’s driving the bus?
I knew the speaker beforehand, so that made his talk extra special. It was funny and relatable and held many words of wisdom. The crux of the speech was that every one of us has our own facets, our own unique characteristics. And in different situations, sometimes it’s better for certain of our characteristics to drive our behavior, our attitudes and actions, and other parts of our personality to take a seat further back in the bus.
Sometimes it’s good if we are action-oriented. Other times, it’s better if we sit and listen, observing the situation. Sometimes it’s preferable to be a team member, and other times it’s preferable to take charge in those emergency situations and direct others in how they can help.
We all have varied skills and attributes that can come to the forefront, but the speaker’s point was that we need to be intentional about which of those attributes takes the reins in a given situation.
Be Situationally Agile
That’s especially true for us in customer service, yet being situationally agile is one of the more challenging skills to hone. When we reflect on an encounter after it occurs, we often know what would have been the best thing to have said or the best approach to have taken, but in the moment – that’s where we’re often challenged. In the moment, we need to clearly think “How should I handle this situation?” instead of just jumping in like a reflex.
Take Stock of Your Talents
This requires that you understand your talents and your abilities. When needed, can you be a great listener? Can you take the lead and direct professionally? Can you advise like a consultant, or sell when it’s in the best interest of everyone for you to do so? Can you calm a situation? Can you play facilitator to gather in all the ideas? Can you confidently and convincingly convey your own ideas?
Take a moment now, and simply write down the list of your talents and your abilities. Focus on your communication skills. Be very clear on your capabilities so that you can be more intentional about making the right version of yourself the bus driver at the right time.
Decide who’s driving the bus.