As the Christmas holiday season approaches, I recall a recent painful reminder of my weaknesses — when a client called me out for rudeness. I had misinterpreted his call as an intrusive sales pitch, and treated him with disrespect until discovering that in fact I was pushing a client away.
The former client made it clear that he never would do business with me again. Rightfully.
While I have rather serious weaknesses, I thankfully have some strengths, and one of them is to realize when I am wrong, accepting complete responsibility for the mistake.
Accordingly, while I can’t recover my relationship with the former client, I can review how I communicate and relate to other people.
The character strength to get along and respect everyone, regardless of status, occupation or personality traits, is a worthy skill to pursue. For some, the skills come naturally. Others like me need to learn them.
Of course, there are some people who do not deserve our respect. There is no need for anyone to be nice to scammers or con-artists.
As well, there are stories of people in high places who have risen even higher despite their arrogant and disrespectful personality and treatment of people who they don’t believe have value to them. Plenty of these stories are circulating about the current US President, Donald Trump and his earlier years in business.
Yet, while we may be able to get away with insensitivity and rudeness, especially towards people who we perceive don’t really count, or we see as being our lessers or simply little cogs in the big wheel, I think my misinterpretation of a client for a salesperson (and his rightful response to me) still awoke a healthy recognition that it doesn’t cost much, if anything, to be decent to others, no matter who they are.
So, from now on, if a telemarketer phones me reading from a tired script, I’ll courteously decline the opportunity; if someone knocks on the door uninvited to solicit home improvement services, I’ll either avoid the door completely (best solution) or kindly say ‘no’, and if I meet a panhandler on the street, I’ll say, “Sorry, I don’t have anything for you.” I don’t need to be rude.
* * *
The new year will bring many projects and some exciting business challenges, as we prepare to gear up for an extensive daily publishing schedule. You can see things taking shape by visiting ontarioconstructionnews.com. I’m looking forward to the adventure.