I once heard a story about a traveler harassing a ticket agent at the gate of an airport terminal. The traveler didn’t want to wait to get on the plane so he went into a tirade. “Do you know who I am!” he shouted repeatedly at the poor woman handling the tickets. But the ticket agent handled him beautifully – she simply picked up the intercom and announced over the loudspeaker that this man needed help because he didn’t know who he was. Everyone at the gate laughed – especially those who witnessed his bad behavior.
We all have dealt with difficult people at some point in our lives. Unfortunately, some people tend to forget that we’re all humans. Sometimes success, or the perception of success, causes a person’s head to swell and makes him or her feel like they are entitled to certain privileges that others aren’t entitled to. This happens especially in the corporate environment – people lose their patience and become more demanding as they work their way up the corporate ladder. Or, if their business experiences sudden growth, they suddenly come into money or they get some public recognition, they change. While they certainly have the right to change and act like a big shot, they are often better off remembering where they came from. From the unselfish perspective, we all want to be treated with respect so you’re just a better person when you act civilly towards others. I honestly think people fail to understand the effect they have on people when they treat them like dirt. It’s a form of bullying that often results in low self-esteem, added stress in the other person’s life and in some cases, even suicide.
But from a selfish perspective, you’ll get more accomplished and receive better services from others if you just act nicer. People will want to help you and go out of their way to make sure they keep you happy when you’re nice to them. I remember how at my first job in an office environment, people would jump because someone high on the food chain wanted something. As I got accustomed to corporate life, I saw a lot of name dropping and title dropping when people wanted something. I’ve never been into that – I treat everyone like they’re important (unless they’re mean).
Now yes, being a bully does get stuff done but the people doing the work resent the behavior and usually do just the bare minimum. If they are treated a little nicer, the person doing the job would take more pride and produce better quality work. Remember, most people make more mistakes when under pressure.
You really do catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. So keep this mind next time you’re about to drop names or titles. And if you know someone that likes to a lit of name or title dropping, then email them this article (or print it out and leave on their desk) – they may get the hint.