1. You’re a poor follower. Barnes & Noble showcases rows of books on effective leadership, many of which can be currently found on the New York Times best-seller list. But frankly, people might respect you more if you’d occasionally follow. Perhaps it’s because you don’t know what you’re talking about (expert power). Perhaps it’s because you’re not officially in the role (legitimate power). Perhaps it’s because people just don’t admire or respect you (referent power). Allow the better-equipped person to take the helm occasionally. A ship’s captain is important. But without the crew, it’s not sailing anywhere long, assuming it even leaves port.2. You lack follow-through. Your word cannot be trusted. I’m amazed at people representing respected companies who (1) tell me they’re sorry about the product/service problem I’m encountering, (2) assure me they’ll attend to the issue within the hour, and (3) promise me a follow-through phone call relaying the situation’s been resolved.
One week later and no phone call. One month later, product or service still problematic and there’s no resolution to the problem that’s already consumed hours of my time. I’m now certain to record customer service representative names and/or identification numbers and wait for their follow-through. If and when they don’t deliver, I write letters to their senior staff with accurate addresses found on the Internet. If I were the company CEO, I’d want to know which employees can’t be trusted. To me, follow-through is an integrity and work ethic issue.
3. You never apologise. When I was younger (read: foolish), I viewed apologies as signs of weakness. Now older (read: wiser), I say I’m sorry as needed. The great equaliser of humanity, people make mistakes. I’ve often wondered how often other etiquette/image speakers and geographical “Miss Manners” fumble. Perhaps magical exemplars of perfect etiquette and protocol exist; regretfully, I’m not one of them. I can proudly say, however, that I apologise when warranted. I’ve grown up.
I had a maintenance teeth cleaning about a year ago and was told by office staff there was no co-payment. Fair enough. I then received repeat invoices from their billing department seeking payment. Seeking clarification, I called the dental office and was emphatically told no payment was required.
Backstory: Bad day triggered bad mood, compounded by yet another invoice from the billing office. I called billing with war on my mind. I spoke louder than was necessary, interrupted any attempt at response, and yes, psychologically felt a temporary sense of victory when I angrily ended the call.
But then, shameful guilt and immediate remorse. I reflected the woman who took my call was quite possibly someone’s mother or wife and was, just like me, working to make a living. I called right back, calmly explained the original situation, added my bad day had been the trigger for my behaviour, and sought forgiveness for my rudeness. Did I believe I had a right to be angry? Yes. Did I have a right to rant when she was simply the unfortunate soul who happened to answer the phone the moment I called? No.
Those who know me reading this post may be surprised by my disclosure. Chances are good to excellent my encounters with you have been respectful and kind. But like you, I falter. And when this happens, I do the right thing and say I’m sorry, I was wrong, and it won’t happen again.
Important life lesson from communication textbooks? “Communication is Irreversible.” Once you say it, write it, text it, post it, it’s out there. You’re then in damage control mode and living a life in that constant state cannot be pleasant.
4. You disrespect people’s time. If you’re the type of person who perpetually arrives late or keeps appointments waiting, your behaviour communicates ignorance or arrogance. These types of people think rules don’t apply to them and assume their tardiness is acceptable because (1) no one’s held them accountable or (2) they’re somehow inherently “special”. The simple truth is you’re not. honour time by arriving on time, greeting on time, and leaving on time. New hire or company management, understand that everyone is busy and can’t be held hostage while you saunter down the hallway.
5. You behave like a Bridezilla. This show shocks and saddens me. I’ve watched enough episodes to form an opinion, but not enough to fill the company coffers of We TV. What’s worse? The physical and mental abuse? The vulgar language? The unpredictable temper tantrums? The seething rage that raises my own blood pressure just by watching? The sad realisation that undeserving population groups (the bullies, the entitled, & the narcissists) even get air time?
Unfortunately, Bridezillas exist in workplaces and even in our own families. These people suck the energy from even joyous occasions, make mountains out of molehills, and inject situations with venom and misery. People with this amount of psychological rage require professional help. A telling cue that you may be the contextual Bridezilla is people’s aversion to your own company. The Bridezilla’s sting is recurring, pointed, and potent. Limit exposure to maintain health and sanity.
Follow my image/etiquette tips (http://twitter.com/#!/ImageProfessor ) to become the leader who knows, not the follower who’s guessing. I’d welcome your follow, Reader.
© 2011 LisaMarie Luccioni/The Image Professor, All Rights Reserved
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