Communication Skills

JS Tip 198: From the Leadership Workshops: What Goes Around . . . .

Do you remember the “analogies” section on the ACTs or the SATs? The task was to identify the relationship in one pair and choose another pair with the same relationship. For example—

MASON is to STONE as—

a.      Soldier is to parachute
b.      Teacher is to chalk
c.       Carpenter is to wood
d.      Photographer is to camera

(The mason makes things from stone; the carpenter makes things from wood. Bingo. You got it.)

Okay. Let’s consider a business analogy:

EMPLOYEES are to CUSTOMERS as—

a.      Apples are to oranges
b.      Kangaroos are to elephants
c.       Leaders are to employees
d.      Pianos are to tubas

Absolutely. The correct answer is “c”: Employees will treat customers the same way leaders treat employees. Positive leaders and positive cultures develop positive customer service; toxic leaders and toxic cultures produce toxic customer service.

In a recent blog, writer Tim Brown addressed poor customer service:

How often have you experienced unfriendly or grumpy service . . . ? [T]his is not so much a result of poor hiring or training, but a reflection of a poor internal culture.1

The word karma comes to mind: “What goes around comes around.”

This raises an interesting question about leaders: Who are the leaders? Who influences a culture? We’ll talk about that next week.   

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1“What You Manage is What You Get,” designthinking.ideo.com, retrieved January 11th, 2013