Given choice of dealing with a positive, upbeat employee with a "can-do" attitude or dealing with a disgruntled, distracted, uninterested one, which would you choose? No contest. Customers always want best experience possible; they want it to be easy and pleasant to do business with your company. Enter real challenge of "Relationship Management," relationships. Until all of our business is done electronically, and much of it might be, managers, in addition to making sure work gets done, still need to be concerned with performance of most important link in customer connection - people.
Whether answering phone, fixing equipment, selling a product or reconciling an unpaid invoice, quality of interaction between one human being and another is what will be judged by customer to determine how much you care about them and their business. If state of your relationship skills does not equal or exceed your sales and marketing skills, your "lifetime" relationship is in danger.
As a manager you should know that survey after survey reports that people prefer to do business with a positive, upbeat person. As a customer, you instinctively know that people want to do business with people who enjoy what they are doing, are having a good time doing it and genuinely care about being able to help you solve your problem, or achieve your goals. So, here are some tips on creating a more positive, up-beat, can-do work force.
1. Remember, best teacher is a good example. First examine your own behavior. Are you walking positive talk or are you mumbling beneath you breath, "3 more days 'til Friday." Take great care to listen to your own language. Do you frame things in positive, or do you often start your sentences with "No." Do you say "Yes, but.." a lot, negating first half of your sentence with your last? If so, purchase a copy of "Learned Optimism" by Martin Seligman for your corporate library and inhale it. Then pass it on. Optimistic people adapt easier to change, are more creative, have more fun and are healthier then pessimistic ones. They live longer too. Think about it, looking for innovation? Think optimism, that's one way to get there.
2. Learn (and teach) power of positive self-talk. Often our internal chatter is negative. Reprogram your own chatter and then listen carefully for signs of it in others. When you hear someone saying, "Boy am I stupid," gently coach them away from that attitude by replying with "Don't be so hard on yourself, you're not stupid. You may have made a bad decision, we all do, from time to time, let's talk about that, what you've learned, and how to avoid it in future." Our bodies respond to our self-talk, if we tell ourselves we are disorganized, we behave just that way. Tell yourself, with conviction, you are an organized person, and behavior will begin to change. Our brain responds literally, like our computers. Learn to replace negative programming with positive.
3. Ban Whining. One whiner in group can bring everyone down. A whiner is like an infection - it spreads. Put one strong whiner in a room and they can turn it into a pity party. Stop it at source. Learn to spot them during interview process. Don't hire them in first place, unless you are prepared to keep vigilance over their behavior and attempt to change it. Good luck. Whiners love whining. Put a "No whining" sign on your door.
4. Teach people art of "win/win." In our competitive society we have a win/lose mentality. This may be a good strategy to fill a sports stadium, not a good way to run a company. Help people to understand that thinking "Win/Win" opens up possibility for new solutions. Remember, in 21st century, it's innovation and creativity that will give us edge, innovation comes from open minds and "possibility thinking."