Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Treat everyone as humans

This title is really obsolete, right? We all treat everyone with respect – or at least the respect they deserve…

This entry is about what my father called “the invisible people” in the workplace: The secretaries (are there any of those still around?), the janitors, the mailman, the cleaning lady, the guy changing water cooler tanks, the driver, etc.

I learned very early in my working career that by treating everyone as humans, I not only felt better, but it made business sense.

A classic example in my life is extending this to the receptionists. Most people treat them like they are invisible.
I used to spend some extra seconds chatting with the receptionist at a customer’s office (a huge place w/hundreds of people walking through the gates every day). One day I  really needed a favor on my way to this customer (I’d forgot some print-outs). I could call him up and get a personal favor. Way out of his job description. Saved my day.

I was working for a BIG company: The mail-truck was NOT to be borrowed by employees after hours. Absolutely not. And still, we all knew that the truck once in a while wasn’t at the parking space over night. So SOMEBODY could borrow it. And when I asked for a favor because I really needed to move some boxes it was suddenly possible to borrow it. Why? I had spent enough time chatting with the mail guy to create a relationship with him.

Simple, banal examples of what happens when you treat everyone as humans.

Quote from my dad: “Treat the invisible people as humans and you’ll become more visible.”

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