In your opinion, what does it mean to act professionally? That is the first question I want to pose to you in this lesson. Do we agree that a big part of acting professionally is doing what is in the best interest of the workplace? Even if it means we might get our feelings hurt?
We are going to have people come into our workspace that are going to be negative. Do we still have an obligation to serve those patrons? I hope your answer is “YES!”
People are negative and/or difficult for a variety of reasons. Most of the time it is a reflection of things going on in their lives, it very seldom has anything to do with you. So what are some of our options for responding to those people?
First and foremost we must remember that we are in a position that requires us to serve customers and colleagues. This means if a colleague or patron comes to you upset about something you do have control over, the best way to handle it is to serve that customer or colleague, solve their problem, and send them on their way. Most of the time, if you can help a patron solve their problem they will be satisfied and will no longer be frustrated or angry. Remember, if the problem does extend beyond that, any and all approaches we take must be as professionals. We must not allow ourselves to be hurt or angered on a personal level. 99% of conflicts we will run into in the workplace have absolutely nothing to do with us personally. Yet, 99% of the time we choose to respond to those situations as if they were personal attacks. Why do you think that is?
The following links are to websites with practical advice to dealing with negative people. Read the three links I have posted and when you comment on this lesson I want you to add two or three tips that have worked for you personally when dealing with conflict in your professional life. If you can’t think of any new tips, please expand on two or three of the tips you have read. Maybe even add a success story? Also, in your response, please think about the following comment, “ How do we keep people from becoming frustrated or angry in the first place?” I think the first way to do that is to train our staff to serve our patrons better. Each staff member should know how to best meet customer needs. Also, it is important for staff members to understand the chain of command so they know where to send customers when a problem is beyond the scope of that particular staff member’s control. What are some of your suggestions to help staff members better serve customers?