Whether you are active in your job search or just trying to get your job done for “the great corporation,” it pays to be nice to everyone.
One of my best friends is a real charmer and I always enjoy going out to dinner with him because we always get great service. He just has a way of engaging the waiter that lets this individual, male or female, know that he considers them to be a real person. I have seen others engage waiters as servants who “damn well better” get them their drink, dinner or extra of some kind, and I can tell you that it is my observation that Bob’s approach works better. (As evidence, I have never had anything thrown at me by a waiter while out to dinner with him. Perhaps that doesn’t prove anything, but I thought I would mention it.)
In much the same way, it is all too easy to in some way “diminish” the hard working individuals who serve the “big ones” that we are all too eager to get to know. Whether we are talking about an Administrative Assistant, or a “First Lieutenant” who reports to the boss, a few kind words appropriately given can work wonders.
I am not in any way suggesting you be disingenuous. Praise where praise is not due is a big mistake. But mentioning to the boss that his Administrative Assistant was helpful in some way is almost certain to get you a more welcoming hello when you next call.
When you speak harshly to anyone, they tend to brace up. You can almost see the “heat shield” being put up. What many people miss in their interpersonal relationships with the “little people” of this world is their ability to do you favors that are theirs to grant. It might be something as simple as putting your phone message at the top of the pile, but it can be powerful indeed.
We all like to think that we run the world in some way, and perhaps in some sense it is true. But, the reality is that there are whole bunches of folks in lesser roles who are responsible for the heavy lifting that goes on out in the world. Many of these “salt of the earth” types don’t even know how important they are, but treating them as human beings can go a long way toward your success.
The story goes that I once had an accounting clerk working for me who I had given responsibility to clear an invoice for payment through a purchasing manager at our firm. It was important to our client at the time that I pay their bills. It was a small matter, but the purchasing manager kept putting poor Nelson off day after day. What I did was walk down to his office with Nelson and suggest to him in a “quiet and assuring way” that when I sent Nelson down to “visit” with him, he should treat him as if I myself had come to speak with him. I left the two of them to deal with the matter at hand and within an hour it was solved. Need I tell you that many future matters were solved as well? Nelson felt good about himself and I didn’t beat too hard on the purchasing manager either. All of us ended up in good shape.
Treating everyone with respect doesn’t cost anything and yet it pays big dividends. Go figure.