Some of you may have seen an incomplete post that was activated too soon. My apologies. Full post is below.
How many times have we heard or said this:
I know I’ve said it many times in the past, but I’m starting to rethink it. Deep down, does that attitude make us actually care less about our guests? Take this out of the service environment, don’t you generally care when another human being is suffering in some way? What makes the service context so different? Aren’t we just humans helping humans? Does this mindset breed animosity instead of motivate people to smile no matter what? Along with “the customer is always right”, I am starting to believe it might be time to retire this type of thinking.
By essentially saying, “smile no matter what”, we are encouraging people to be fake. Have you ever seen someone smile who didn’t mean it? Sure you have, and it’s not pretty.
For those who have been reading this blog for a while, you hopefully know that by saying all this I am not suggesting that we allow sour-puss faces on our employees. Nay, nay. What I AM saying is that we may have to look differently at what it takes to make our employees smile.
Communication, support, feedback, a sense of value, purpose, training, communication, innovation, autonomy, communication…
All that takes MUCH longer to master than a blind adherence to: leave your problems at the door.
There is a fascinating contradiction to be explored here… because while I believe and stand behind everything I just wrote, I also believe this:
As a leader, you give up your right to have a bad day.
But that’s not fair! An employee gets to have a bad day but a leader doesn’t?
Yes. By taking a leadership role, you agree to give up certain things and you agree to take on certain things.
- You agree to be a role model, a teacher, a guide, a coach, and a listener.
- You give up your old peer group for a new one.
- You take on the responsibility for the productivity of your area to support the company goals.
- You give up the right to complain about problems because…
- You are now responsible for the solutions.
- And yes, you give up the right to have a bad day.
Remember that a leader goes first. A leader sets the tone. A leader is the one that other people are watching. THAT’S why things are different for you. And that’s why you need to care about your employees so they will care about the guests – no matter what we think they may be thinking about us.
Think about that! :o)
About the author: Matt has been thinking a lot about guest service and leadership, especially as the IAAPA Attractions Expo draws near! If you will be at the Expo, be sure to check out all of the education sessions! If you want to hear more about Matt’s philosophies and strategies around leadership, check out these sessions at the Expo: