We've all seen it happena co-worker comes into work storming angry, mouth turned down in a frown, walks through the office without saying hello to anyone, sits down at his or her desk and starts barking orders to co-workers, and when the phone rings picks it up and bellows out, Yea?
Sad isn't it? Something must have happened before that person got to work and unfortunately it's carried right inside the building. I call this Emotional Leakage and, fear not, it can be cured.
Hey, it's no fun to get up on the wrong side of the bed in the morning. And it's sure not fun to get a flat tire on the way to work or to argue with someone before breakfast. It's unfortunate that some
people aren't able to shake it off and move on about their business.
Emotional leakage is getting mad at Peter and taking it out on Paul. Not right, not fair, not fun. Taking a negative emotion out on someone who wasn't involved? How RUDE can you get?
If emotionally leaking on co-workers certainly isn't fair, then emotionally leaking on customers is even worse than not fair.
A customer or co-worker, in most cases, isn't involved with whatever put that person in a bad mood, so why take it out on them? Few things are more unfair and damaging to a relationshipbusiness or personalthan emotionally leaking a negative experience on someone who wasn't involved. And yet, unfortunately, it happens every day. At home, in the office, on the streets, in your stores.
While shopping the other day, the person helping me was obviously not in a good mood. In fact, I think if she smiled, her face would have cracked. She gave me one-word answers but usually none and she kept turning her head to see who was coming or going. (I wasn't sure.) She was throwing my vegetables and fruits into the bagnot caring how they landed.
Normally, I walk out on that type of service. It's just not worth my time to be treated like that. But this time I was in a hurry and needed the product. So I did something I don't normally doI asked her if everything was all right? Was she OK?
I tried to make it sound as though I was interested, even though, to be honest, I wasn't. But I sure didn't want her negative emotions leaking on me any longer.
With a big sigh and a sad face, she told me she and her boyfriend had a big fight the night before and she was hoping he'd come by and apologize.
Excuse me, I said, was I with you?
Believe it or not, she smiled and said, Of course not.
Then I nicely told her, If I wasn't there, I don't want to be part of that argument.
She started to apologize, as well she should. Then I thought about a vase I had once. I dropped it. It broke into several pieces.
My husband Dick and I talked about whether we should take it somewhere and have a professional put it back together. Dick said, We can do that if you'd like, but it will never be the same. You'll always feel the cracks.
And so it is with our co-workers and customers. You can be in a bad mood...be it an argument, a flat tire or breaking your favorite item. And you can apologize, but people still remember how you treated them, how you made them feel. And they willfor a long time, too.
So how do we cure emotional leakage? It's a quick four-step process:
c Stop what you're doing.
c Take a deep breath.
c Put on a phony smile (yes, you can).
c Regain your professional composure. And then talk with the personin-person or on the phone.
Emotionally leaking on someone is NEVER right, NEVER fair and NEVER fun.
There are times others emotionally leak on us. Think how you feel when that happens to you and then remember to never emotionally leak on others.
Keep saying it: It's not right, it's not fair and it's not fun.
Nancy Friedman's columns appear periodically in Tire Business. She is president of Telephone Doctor Inc., an international customer service training company based in St. Louis. She can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 314-291-1012. Her website is www.- nancyfriedman.com.