Reviving Common Courtesy

Common courtesy seems to be like Elvis and has left the building.  The days of hearing and maybe even saying “please” and “thank you” seem to be part of a bygone era.  Yet, these are two of the most powerful words in the English language.  They can change someone’s day if delivered in a meaningful way.  As leaders, reviving common courtesy is paramount to set the standard of expectation and behavior.

“Please”

Growing up in my household, if you didn’t say please when you asked for something, my parents would come back with “what do you say?”.  Proper manners in my house was not optional, it was required.  Because of that, I raised my child the same way.  These days, it seems that please is optional and rarely used.  In my experience, it seems to be a dying art.  When people want something it is more of a demand, rather than a request and “please” is no where to be found.  The majority of the people I worked for rarely said please.  Mostly, it was do this, do that and by this time.  A “please” with true intent would go a long way to creating an environment where people feel valued and appreciated.

“Thank you”

Along with “please”, “thank you” can encourage results in people.  Personally, getting a heartfelt “thank you” for something I’ve done, can go a long way.  Heartfelt is the key word here.  Some people will throw it out there as an after thought and it can do more harm than good.  A valid “thank you” needs to include “what”.  Think about these two examples:

“Hey thanks.”

“Thank you so much for completing that project on time.  You have made a difference to our client.”

Which do you think is more powerful?  The second more tells the person what you appreciated!  Not just an off-handed “thanks” with no meat.  My favorite stores to shop understand the and embrace the power of “thank you”.  Recently, as I completed my purchase, the person at the counter stopped and looked me right in the eye and said, “thank you so much for your business, we appreciate you”.  Wow, I must admit I was in shock and awe . . . rendered me speechless.  Ask my husband, that rarely happens!  I just smiled and said “thank you”.  Will this encourage me to go back?  You bet.

Three simple words

Three simple words that when used effectively pack a powerful punch!  Easy to say and yet, seldom used.  It’s time to revive common courtesy and put “please” and “thank you” back into our vocabulary.  Let people know that we appreciate and value them in their efforts.  Here’s your challenge for the week.

Please focus your attention on getting back to the “please” and “thank you basics.  Ask rather than demand, and when someone on your team meets or exceeds your expectations, please let them know.  Thank you for taking the time to read this article!  You are well on your way to reviving common courtesy!

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Positive Attitude, Positive Intentions

“Attitude is contagious, is yours worth catching?”  I love this mantra that is displayed on a mug that sits on my desk.  It is a reminder that a positive attitude is needed if positive intentions are going to be carried out when it comes to customer service. Customer Service

If you look it up in the dictionary, customer service is “the assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services.”  Wikipedia describes customer service as “the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase.”

The consumer seems to be leaning to online purchasing which seems to me to lack a great deal of customer service if there is a problem with a purchase.  Continue reading

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Give Your Team the Tools to Do the Job Right

Have you have been given a task only to find out you don’t have all the information?  How about the right tools?  As leaders, it is your responsibility to make sure you give your team the tools to do the job right.  Incomplete instructions or lack of resources to give them the right tools will set your team up for failure.  Develop established standards to set the stage for success.

Establish Standards

In order to ensure that you give your team the tools to do the job right, start with standards.  Outline a process for each job that they will be required to do.  Make sure that as you develop those standards, you do the task yourself so you can document the step-by-step process accurately.  So many times we give assignments, and because we have done them for so long, we forget key pieces when we gave the instructions.  Then what happens is your team feels like they were set up for failure. Continue reading

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Discover Your Strengths and Talents

Do you ever wonder why you prefer some tasks over others?  You procrastinate on some tasks until the last minute?  Years ago a colleague gave me a copy of “Now Discover Your Strengths”, by Marcus Buckingham.  I was looking through it on the airplane and was certain I knew my five strengths.  When I got home, I sat down to take the assessment and what I discovered was a surprise to me!  It was time to truly discover strengths and talents pertaining to me.  

Discover Your Strengths and Talents

The assessment gave me five strengths.  Two I already figured I had, but three were a surprise to me.  As I looked through the explanations, I realized that I had been selling my self short all this time.  Discovering strengths and talents that make you unique will open doors in business and in life.  According to Marcus Buckingham,

“Most organizations are built on two flawed assumptions about people: Continue reading

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5 Stages to Successful Performance Coaching

Great leaders know that they cannot be successful without a strong team.  Success is determined by how effectively we handle their performance.   By following these 5 stages to successful performance coaching, you can determine what stage your team is currently in.  Furthermore, now you know how to move them to new heights.   Gallup research gives us insight on how to proceed.

 

Gallup wanted to find strong workplaces in order to determine what leaders would need to know in order to attract and retain the most productive employees.  In their research they discovered it came down to five stages to successful performance coaching.  In those steps, certain needs must be met in order for employees to be ready to move to the next stage.

Stage 1 – The Basics

Every person on your team when they were hired, needed to know what they would get from taking the job.  If you think back, you will remember there were things that you needed to know.  Initially the needs are simple, they need to know the hours they work, what is the pay rate, how long will the commute be, and what equipment will they have to enable them to do their job?   Expectations need to be clear and equipment to do their job well is provided. Continue reading

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Attitude is Everything

There is an old saying, “attitude is contagious is yours worth catching?”  Attitude is everything when dealing with people.  Having the right attitude is what is going to get you through the times when things don’t go as you hope they will.  People are challenging and we never know what they will do next.

People Challenges

I know we wish that people came with manuals because it would make it easier to understand them.  So when leading people, attitude is everything.  You need to really like people, desire to make a difference in their lives and have patience with them during difficult times.  Everyone is going through something.  They may not tell you what it is but their behavior will change because of it.  On top of behavior, people have different personalities.  In a crisis, they will respond out of the norm which will throw you off guard. In those times, we need to be at our best because how we handle it will make all the difference.

Leading in Challenging Times

Attitude is everything when we are faced with people challenges.  We need to keep from taking things personally.  It really isn’t about us, it is about whatever they are facing.  We may be the target at that given moment, however how we handle it is crucial.  I suggest sitting down with them, describe the behavior you are seeing and ask them if you can help.  Sometimes all people really need is someone to listen without fear of retaliation.  If we can truly listen to what they are saying, we may help them to find a solution to their problem. They may not want to tell us what is going on but we can at least let them know we care and that we want to help.  Even if we can’t help, we still may need to focus them on an attitude adjustment. Continue reading

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A Contrast in Customer Service

I’m sure you’ve all heard what happens when we experience bad customer service.  We tell 10 people who then tell 10 people and the process goes on and on.  When we have a great customer service experience, we tend to tell very few people and that is sad!  So I have decided that if I am going to talk about a bad customer service experience, I’m going to share a good experience as well.   So let’s look at a contrast in customer service.

Great Customer Service

Great Customer ServiceOn my day off I needed to run some errands like most people.  One of my errands took me into Boise and as you well know, we can never predict the traffic.  So I started out early, got to the location early only to find out they didn’t open for another hour.  Not exactly how I wanted my day to go but I did have my cell phone.  I figured I could use the time to get caught up on email, FB and LinkedIn.  Just as I was getting my phone out a guy walks over to my car.  I jump out to let him know that I am aware I’m early and I’m okay waiting.  As it turns out he works in another part of the business but is willing to help me.

The right way to do customer service

He asks what I need and I explain why I’m there and in a very happy voice says, “come on, I can help you so you don’t have to wait.”  All I can think is “really?”  I don’t ponder on it long because he’s moving toward the door, giving me directions on what I need to do and is so very nice when doing it.  So I comply with all his requests and throughout the process, he has the best attitude.  We are laughing, talking and he is so helpful.  The kindness he has shown me is something that is rare these days in customer service. Continue reading

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Humility

Are you humble?  Do you lead with humility?  According to Merriam and Webster, humility is defined as “freedom from pride or arrogance; the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people; the quality or state of being humble.

HumilityThink back and picture some of the best leaders you met through the course of your career.  Did they exhibit humility in their leadership?  So often when people are given a position in leadership, they use that new position to place themselves above those that report to them.  They believe that they need to exhibit power, lead with fear to make sure their direct reports know “who’s in charge”.  True leaders do it differently. Continue reading

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