Every now and then you come across a person who has an attitude of entitlement. They feel that they are blessed with an unusual ability that far surpasses the rest of God’s creatures and that the people they are forced to deal with are mere servants who should tend them. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone.
This week I was calling a new client and I was used to dealing with our president, so talking to me seemed lower than low. He interrupted my conversation several times and told me that he was making assumptions that were not correct. He was condescending and arrogant and I kept thinking to myself how his attitude was not going to earn any bonus points with me!
My tactic was to slow down and listen to their opinions with as much intensity and understanding as I could muster. But even before that, I apologized for telling him that some of the information I needed to gather from him was administrative in nature and could be turned over to me by anyone. That’s when the hairs on the back of his neck must have blown off because he came back and said, “And do you think I’m an administrative person?” I quickly apologized and said, “No, of course not! I’m just saying that some of the information I need is not complicated and that anyone can give it to me.” It was that statement that he judged me by going forward, and from that point on, it was incredibly difficult to deal with him as a person. Obviously, he saw life from a place where he felt judged, so he treated me like he was judging him. He wasn’t, he was just asking for help.
Each of us has had momentary encounters with other human beings who are just not that good. We have all been in a place where we are not in the best situation and our attitude is not the best. Maybe we didn’t have our Noni juice or Stress B Gone juice that morning, and we’re not the most “happy, lucky” person at every moment of the day. Or maybe we are stressed and too busy to stop and be nice to every person we meet. Unfortunately, when we have about 3 to 10 seconds to create a first impression and the impression is not good, then we have to make up for it by spending about 2½ positive hours to get that person back.
This person who spoke to me is a customer. That means he deserves my respect and my courtesy. But that does NOT mean I can run over and hit the ground. I gave him the first round and I was nice and promised to provide wonderful service. But at this point, I see what kind of “stellar” human being he is and he’s not that pretty. He’s the type who can’t just do a job, regardless of what his title is. You are up to speed with your own impression of yourself that you are too important to collaborate and help where help is needed. This type of attitude is detrimental to your business. You are likely to lose out on a good supplier because of their condescending attitude and, no doubt, any of the advantages that you could have gained from having a great relationship. It is also unlikely that you will receive price discounts, if any, or that you will receive updates that we can offer to our valued customers.
People with shoulder chips need to know that people are watching how you treat your suppliers. People observe how you treat service people and whether or not you treat others with respect. People are watching you at work and they can tell if you are a hard worker or just get by on as little as possible. If you are lazy, talk too much on the phone, spend too much time on the Internet or in emails, or if you do not intervene when it is time to work, you will not be highly respected, and you will not be liked by your coworkers, even if they act like your friends . Believe me, they are talking behind your back and planning your disappearance. You will also lose business, which translates into money, which can translate into freedom. And hopefully, you will lose your job and continue to do so until you wake up and know what makes a good employee.
I want our company to be known for its incredible service. I want to have an unsurpassed product and I want our customers to be raving fans. It takes a lot of work, long hours, and some personal sacrifice, but I’m excited to be part of a team that cares enough to make our company great. Someday I’ll have enough clients who want to work with us and I won’t have to take everyone who comes along. And that’s when I’ll be in a position to tell those clients who don’t fit our profile that someone else will serve them better.
Until that day, I’ll hang on, be nice, and focus on the many clients I have who are charming and respectful and who make me wake up in the morning. Those people are great and they make my job fun.
And in the meantime, to all the “Mr. and Mrs. Chips On Your Shoulder” … get off your horse, have a good attitude and work hard. You are in the path of many great and productive people who want to do a good job and serve the company. You are a drag on your employer and many people around you.
You can make changes if you decide to work hard when no one is watching. You can decide to make each day count and you can decide that you want to serve others to improve their lives. You may decide to think of others rather than just yourself, and you may decide to sacrifice your bad attitude for the benefit of the company as a whole. If you do this, you will quickly become a valued member of the team and then we will welcome you with open arms.
Please, Mr. Chip, you can make the changes. Decide right now that you are making a change. Every day will get better and better until you realize that you have changed. And that’s when you’ve become a valued member of your company, your industry, and our world.