I recently was wrapping up a vacation after a work trip to Australia. I was driving from Sydney up to Brisbane to catch a flight to head home. I had booked a room in a Grafton, small town just off the highway, because my father grew up just outside Grafton, North Dakota. In the middle of the afternoon I received an email from the hotel saying that their lobby was closing at 3:00 that day and I wouldn’t be arriving until 5:30 or so. They provided me with an access code to a lock box at the back of their office where I would find my room keys. I arrived, easily found the lockbox, and it was not functioning. There was a QR code above the lock box. I tried it and it would not load.
At this point I could easily feel myself beginning to get upset. It had been a long day of driving (on the wrong side of the road even), there was a long traffic backup because of an earlier accident. I was hungry, and really needed to use the restroom. I took a moment, affirmed my feelings and chose my behaviors. I kept the information we include from Haim Ginott in mind. It is my personal approach that creates the climate and my daily mood that makes the weather. I found a phone number in the hotel’s email and tried calling it. No one answered, so I left a very polite message stating what was happening. When the employee from the hotel called me back minutes later, he also tried to walk me through the steps of using the lock box. I followed his directions, which were the same I had already tried, and told him the lock box wasn’t making any sounds. It appeared to be battery operated and either had dead batteries or had been turned off. I apologized for any inconvenience this may be causing him. He said no, that he should be apologizing to me.
Haim Ginott’s other two points we include are I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration and that in all situations it is my response that decides whether a situation will be escalated or deescalated. By thanking the hotel employee that came to help me and joking with them when they seemed to be getting upset about their coworker (the lock box had been turned off), they also began to relax and laugh. By the end of our interaction we were both laughing and joking.
How many times have we let our emotions get the best of us and we take it out on others around us? How does that affect them? What does that do to the situation? How does that affect the rest of the day for everyone involved? By remembering a few simple ideas about working with people we can have a large impact on increasing the positive and decreasing the negative in many situations.
Thanks to my friend Steve Marsh, a Mandt trainer in Australia, for the inspiration for this blog.
Dr.Dale Shannon – Director of Instructional Design