There are several fast food places near our home. Two we prefer; one we like the sandwiches and the other we like the salads. Last week Shirley and I were on our way to a Cardinal ball game and wanted to grab a quick bite.
Both of us were leaning toward salads. As we talked about our choices something became clear. We had not talked about it previously, but the service at the restaurants were very different. The first was happy and the crew seemed to work together; they seemed to be having fun, which they included the patrons in on. The second seemed cold and distant. The counter people didn’t seem interested and, at times, didn’t even speak loudly enough to understand.
The first seemed cleaner, with all the extra items like condiments, napkins, cup lids, etc. all well stocked. The other, it seemed, we always had to report things being empty.
Although we were leaning toward salads, we went with sandwiches because of the preference for the better service. In our discussion we also realized something that had been happening of which we had been unaware. Over the past several months when we had to choose between these two fast food places our choices were dramatic… If we were taking it home we got salads. If we were eating at the restaurant we got sandwiches.
Although we hadn’t realized it, the service really did make a huge difference in our choices.
Leadership makes the difference. I would imagine the first place has leadership that is hands-on and involved making sure their people know how to relate and treat their customers. They know their jobs, and that part of the job is client-centered. I‘ll also bet that the people working there enjoy their jobs and don’t see themselves as low level employees, but as part of a team that makes a difference.
My guess would be that the second restaurant is led by a person who doesn’t enjoy their job and isn’t able to teach other how to find enjoyment. It appears that the employees are working with an eye to when they’ll get off and have little customer service training. The employees see themselves as the hired hands doing the dirty work. There is little camaraderie and little evidence of team work.
Great leaders train their people in the necessary skills of the job; which includes relationship skills. Great leaders also equips them with skills in team work and team building. Great leaders enjoy and lead other to enjoy.
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