What is an effective way to lessen anxiety in a stressful situation? Allow the person to have more control.

Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego did just that by allowing children to drive themselves to the operating room using remote-controlled cars. Instead of being rolled into surgery on a gurney, children eagerly anticipate choosing a BMW, Cadillac, Mercedes or Lamborghini to transport them into the OR. It turns something that is dreaded into something that is a reward.

As the staff at Rady regrettably discovered, adults are too large to ride in the hospital’s special vehicles, so cars are probably not an option for your staff! But think of how you can devise a situation in which people have more control over something that normally would leave them feeling helpless. Can you allow them to have more autonomy in their work? Or to choose options instead of having them dictated from above? Or perhaps have the freedom to “opt out” of tasks or obligations on a limited basis?

Everyone likes to be in the driver’s seat. You can enhance your team morale by devising a way to hand your staff the keys.

Thanks, Amy!

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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