In life, I have realized that you learn a lot about something, once you take it to heart and frankly, I have taken Lagos Danfo drivers and conductors to heart. Partly because I use them a lot and partly because they pull at my emotions big time. I hate the fact that I have to pray they take a reasonable route and I hate the fact that I have to pray they don’t drive recklessly or drop me off in the middle of the road to another bus. However, in the midst of all these, there are four amazing things I have learnt about them. Things that if applied in the workplace, will aid productivity and ultimately, success.
If you are working with at least one person to achieve the desired goal at work, then you are in a team. This may sound funny, but by observing bus drivers and conductors, I’ve learnt that delegation of duties and a complementary relationship are two important things in teamwork. Let’s expatiate on these a little:
a. The delegation of Duties: While the driver is driving, the conductor calls in passengers and collects money. This makes the work of the driver really easy and focused. The same can be applied to work. In a team, duties should be properly delegated to each member. This not only helps to reduce the workload that would normally have shouldered one person down but also enables focus and organization. Also, to increase productivity, duties should be delegated to each member according to their strength, skills and abilities. Ever wondered why a cool, calm and collected person can’t be a bus conductor? That’s your answer.
b. A Complementary relationship: Think about complementation this way – a conductor’s primary duty is to help the driver call in passengers and collect money, right? But have you noticed he does other petty things alongside, like scouting the road for the next available lane, dropping to see the possible cause traffic up ahead and giving alternative directions? Yes, all of these while the driver is on the seat, doing the driving.A complementary relationship thus involves knowing the intricacies and the vision of your work so well that you can even go beyond what you are told to help your team or company make the best out of it.
You know that moment when your bus driver is “illegally” trying to take over another lane? Two things are likely to happen. It’s either he successfully manoeuvres or he is blocked by another driver. At the point when he is blocked, there are also two things involved. It’s either they shout rudely at each other or your driver hails the other and politely asks for a way through. Now, which of these two things work better? Yes, the latter.
This means that respect for others in and outside your workplace will literally pave the way for you. My friend got a job recently, even after the secretary had told her that vacancies were closed just because she had politely greeted the CEO on her way in. He had been leisurely leaning on a car outside the building and according to her, she didn’t know he was the CEO at the time. So, respecting others through your words and your action towards them can help you clear that interview, get a job, get that promotion or land that contract. Remember, people want to be and feel respected. Give them that.
3. UNDERSTAND THE RULES OF YOUR BUSINESS:
A good bus driver in Lagos knows to always horn, even if he is in the wrong. He knows the roads so well and every short cut leading up to his destination. He knows every checkpoint where he has to pay dues and what to do to avoid trouble with the LASTMA. Whether he keeps the rules or not, the bottom line is he knows. Knowledge is really key.
In your workplace, know and understand the rules of your business. Know what works and what doesn’t, within your industry. Know the bodies and certifications that are relevant to your career. Know your job description and the vision of your company.
Essentially, know the ‘how’ and the ‘why’.
Knowledge will ultimately give you an edge in your career, for “a driver who knows the road well rarely gets stuck in traffic.” (Original quote by me)
4. HONE YOUR BUSINESS:
Have you ever thought bus drivers can be harsh and ruthless sometimes? They don’t pay attention to you and almost always do whatever they want to do. That’s because (and I’m speaking for just a number of them now) they actually know the best route to take and if they pay attention to your complaints, they will be torn in between trying to please everybody. At the end, everybody might just regret that, so, they shut their ears to the world and do what is best for everybody anyway.
Now, hold up. Don’t go shutting your ears to your customers o and don’t always do what you feel is best, unless it actually is. Rather, honing your business means to be more intense about your work and consequently, more effective. In other words, take it personally.
So, here you have it for now. Put these things to work and you’ll see how more productive your work will get this last half of 2016.
Now, I bet you never thought you could learn so much from Danfo drivers. Tell me, what experiences have you had with them, what did it teach you?
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