The sense of responsibility and the attention required while driving a car is relatively more than driving a two wheeler. A good car driver exhibits several qualities that a good manager should possess. How?
Let them honk: Even before the signal goes green some of them start honking. Several times the fellow car drivers are the ones honking unnecessarily. When the traffic is high the honking gets higher. A good driver does not give much attention to the honking but gives full attention genuine requests (horns). He makes sure he is driving correctly despite the huge noise and angry looks. Similarly, a good manager does not care much about what others are saying but listens carefully to what could be important.
Apply the brakes gently: A good driver knows that there could be people behind him. If he applied brake suddenly (on a moderate to high traffic road) the other drivers could get surprised. It could be anyone from a bike driver to a bus / truck driver. It is his vehicle that would be at risk. The damage would depend on who was behind him at that point of time and how much time that person got to respond. Similarly, a good manager knows how to slow the things down without surprising the team members.
Observe thoroughly: Shiva, an instructor at car driving school, used to advise his students to observe what is going on. Watch if the vehicle moving ahead has already applied brakes (which will appear from the brake light) and be cautious. He used to say that a car driver should have four eyes. A driver should know who is behind him, who is at the sides and what is happening in front of him. His moves should be adjusting according to the situation. He advised to be extra cautious at any street openings or blind curves. Anytime a vehicle may come out of that street or blind curve. Similarly, a good manager should be aware of what is happening around him as well as behind his back.
Watch for Wrong Side: Driving wrong side is a big issue. A good driver avoids wrong side driving but what if the others are coming wrong side. Interestingly, the ones driving wrong side are more confident and don’t realize they are doing something wrong. Shiva used to suggest his students that a good driver should not get irritated by wrong doings. All he should do is avoid getting in contact with such drivers. Let them go. But keep an eye on them as long as they are in your way. A good manager knows that the world is full of good and bad people. He has to act rightly and avoid contact with those who want to go the wrong way.
Block Unnecessary Opportunities: The bike drivers are looking for slightest opportunity to move ahead. If you don’t drive close enough to the dividers they will overtake you from that side. They would want to move from the space between two cars. Even the fellow car drivers would want to take your space (in moderate to high traffic) if you maintain more than sufficient distance from the next vehicle. A good driver gives opportunities but only the genuine ones. He tries to block, as far as possible, the unwanted or hazardous situations. A good manager knows the importance of relative velocity. He knows how much space he should allow the fellow colleagues or team members.
Angry Reactions: Sometimes due to slow movement or due to some bad decision making on the road, other drivers pass on angry reactions. Sometimes they criticize for no reason, “kya, kar kya raha hai yeh gaadi wala”. A good driver always wants to avoid road rage. Depending on situation he decides how to react or not react during that time. Like a good manager he understands the difference between constructive criticism and criticism born out of frustration. He does not react to every comment.
Due to some decision by the car driver, bike drivers often pass on staring angrily or making some remarks. Sometimes they even shout at the car driver while overtaking him. Fellow car drivers also do that.
Recognize the public vehicles: My motorcycle teachers taught me to be extra cautious of auto-rickshaws, tempos and buses while driving on the road. They suggested never trust these vehicles (drivers) as they may stop anywhere anytime without even a hint or signal. This is true for car drivers as well. They also try to avoid following these public vehicles. Good managers are able to recognize people they can trust and those who should be avoided. While they trust, they still keep their one foot near brake or accelerator and the other on the clutch (if it is manual transmission). Trusting others doesn’t mean you relax your controls.
Beware of pedestrians and animals: You are driving correctly and suddenly there is a person who wants to cross the road. To make it worse he is just in front of you. These are unexpected risks. A good driver knows that if he can’t control his speed, the crash may become unavoidable. Sometimes cows, pigs, bulls or dogs appear on the roads but in my opinion a confused pedestrian trying to cross the road is dangerous of them all. That is why good managers and good drivers are prepared for the unexpected. They drive in a controlled pace so that they can manage the odd scenarios as far as possible.
These are only some similarities between a manager and car driver that I tried to list but there are many more. There are good managers and there are bad managers just as there are good car drivers and bad car drivers. Driver’s driving and manager’s managing is hugely dependent on the infrastructure and policies in place. If there are illegal speed breakers, no subways / skywalks (for pedestrian crossing), no good roads, no traffic signals where required, poor traffic management, then driving would certainly become difficult. Same way managers’ behavior is also governed by company policies. However, not all the managers should be expected to be good just as not all car drivers are good.
लाभस्तेषां जयस्तेषां कुतस्तेषां पराजयः I येषामिन्दीवरश्यामो हृदयस्थो जनार्दनः II