Columns / Closing Time

Your sphere of influence

Check out your demeanor everyday – it’s a difference maker

I like Subway and a few times a month I eat there.  But there’s one location I no longer visit. Here’s why.  There’s a young worker who is impolite, very impersonal, and at times, just downright mean and nasty.  She certainly takes the “customer” out of “customer service.”  I stopped going there because it’s a negative experience and I have alternatives.

I often tell people that you never know who you might meet that can help you.  Any chance encounter could change your life. It may develop into a new job offer or a career change that takes your life in an entirely new direction.  

You, your managers, and supervisors

Some managers and supervisors don’t get it either.  They start out their day like the Subway girl.  Impolite, rude, and sometimes mean.  They become unapproachable and their workers avoid them.  Who would want to work for such a person or discuss a safety-related issue with them? 

Take a moment, and think about a front-line leader who you work with who never seems to be happy.  How do people react with them? Do others avoid them?  Is that manager able to get increasing levels of engagement from their workers? Do the workers’ behaviors and moods often seem to reflect the mood and demeanor of their boss? Now, contrast that with the other manager. Think about the other leader who is polite, smiles, and has employees wanting to work in their department. 

See the difference? 

Is that difference reflected in lower absenteeism, incidents, and other important indicators? 

We can engage people or drive them away simply through our disposition and demeanor.  I remember once asking a frowning worker at a retail establishment, “Are you happy?”  She said, “Well yes.” I replied, “Well, you better let your face know it.”  She smiled and immediately the entire climate changed as well as her demeanor and mine.  You, your managers and supervisors have that power too!  Tap into it. Relationships matter – relationships improve safety engagement and your ability to influence the safety-related attitudes and actions of everyone around you.

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