It always baffles me to see someone unnecessarily treating someone else bad. Sure, people sometimes really do deserve it, but what I’m talking about is when people let their ego take over.

Take this example:

A mid-level manager at a medium-sized company (700 employees) asks his MIS department to upgrade his word processor on his laptop. An hour later, an intern drops off the laptop, but the spreadsheet was updated instead. The manager, a perfectionist and a hot head, blasts the intern: “Can’t you read! The request clearly states to upgrade the word processor!”

Six months later, the manager is having his performance review. He was expecting a promotion, but didn’t get it. His boss told him he needs to control his temper. It turned out that the intern he yelled at was the CEO’s nephew.

These things do happen. Fortunately, it hasn’t happened to me but I have had two experiences where my treatment of someone else has helped me.

The first situation was about six years ago when I purchased some components to build a new PC. My PC was supposed to be delivered on a Friday but the UPS driver decided he wanted to end his shift on time so he skipped my delivery. I called customer service at 5:10 and complained in a not-so-nice way. I was told I’d have to wait until Monday to get my delivery. The following morning, I called customer service again and explained my situation in a very nice way. Instead of saying things like “I’ll never use you again” or “I don’t see how you can stay in business when you do stuff like this,” I politely explained that I needed the PC for business reasons and Monday wouldn’t work for me. The rep said she’d see what she could do and my delivery arrived an hour later.

The second situation involved a car rental. I was at the rental area in the airport in Charlotte, NC and the guy in front of me was giving the woman at the desk a hard time. I can’t recall his issue but instead of being polite, he was rude from the beginning, questioning the woman’s intelligence and insulting her. After ten minutes of this, he gave up and decided to call the corporate headquarters. As he left, he said to me “Watch out for her, she’s nasty!” I walked up to the desk and the woman apologized to me for his behavior. I said “that’s not necessary, you seem like a nice person to me.” We had a pleasant conversation and then she told me where to pick up my car. Was I ever surprised that when I went to pick up the sub-compact I had paid for, a Nissan X-Terra was waiting for me. The simple act of me being nice resulted in a 6-class upgrade.

So the point is to be nice to everyone. Whether you work for a company or are visiting a company, treat everyone from the janitor on up the same way you’d treat the CEO. We all make honest mistakes so we should give others a break when they make them. Yes there are times when people mess up due to ignorance and deserve to be hassled, but if people are truly sorry, forgive them.


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