March 15, 2016
Customers are not there to hear about your problems.
I stopped in for my usual cup of coffee and the woman behind the counter was clearly in a bad mood. She is usually pleasant so I asked, “Having a tough morning?” She proceeded to unload a tirade of frustration about one of her co-workers who had shown up late for work and wasn’t getting things done properly. She then leaned over the counter and whispered to me, “I probably shouldn’t be telling you this but she’s got issues and she drives me crazy most days.”
She was right about one thing…
She “shouldn’t have been telling me this.” Quite honestly, no matter how much I genuinely like a service provider, the last thing I want to hear about is their work-related or personal issues.
We have all worked with people who I refer to as “barometer people.” These are employees whose moods change on a daily, hourly or even minute-to-minute basis, and their co-workers are expected to respond accordingly. They are so self-absorbed with their own problems that they either don’t consider or don’t care how they negatively impact others. No one should be expected to guess our mood of the day.
Show up for work “Predictably Positive.”
Let’s face it, everyone goes through times when they are dealing with something stressful, sad, painful and frustrating. But we owe it to our co-workers and customers to show up for work every day with a “predictably positive” attitude. We need to leave the problems behind and check our baggage at the door. Consider this. As a professional speaker and trainer, I can never show up to present a keynote or workshop in a bad mood…never! I owe it to my clients, workshop participants and audience members to show up with energy and a positive attitude every time; no matter what’s going on in my personal or professional life. You owe the same to your co-workers and customers.
There is still a place for support and compassion.
Does this mean that you can never share your problems with co-workers? Absolutely not. Of course you can share. We all develop friendships at work and you can certainly privately share and lean on trusted co-workers for empathy and extra support when you are going through a tough time. The danger is when your struggles are reflected through negative body language, tone of voice and actions that prevent you from demonstrating a warm, caring attitude. Your co-workers are there to work as a collaborative team whose one and only goal should be to represent the company in a positive light through exceptional internal and external customer service.
A positive attitude is a choice and the sign of a true professional.
The fact of the matter is this, there will always be frustrating issues and people at work. There will also be personal issues that make it challenging to keep a smile on your face…but that is exactly what you need to do. Take ownership of your attitude, always keeping in mind that it is a direct reflection on how others perceive your professional credibility.