Spending a lot of time in airports can be pretty discouraging. The discouraging part is the way people treat others. Maybe it’s not the way they treat others, but the fact that some people can be so self-absorbed. They don’t even consider others are around. Their leadership is on display and found wanting.
The culprits that offend me the most are those who are dressed nicely and appear to be people of position and/or in authority. I know you can’t judge a book by its cover. Appearances can be and mostly are deceiving, but these people are dressed in a way that demonstrates a level of influence. When I see these people – really anybody being inconsiderate it… well, it used to bother me more than in does now. Now, I find it more amusing.
What kinds of inconsiderate behavior am I talking about? How about the person who feels their cell phone call is important enough that everyone needs to hear it. The ones that I find ‘amusing’ (a.k.a. – used to irritate me), are the ones who are completely oblivious to other people present. They don’t care if their conversation is being broadcast. They are inconsiderate of others around them. Some people have a voice that carries and it seems they are talking loud even when they aren’t, that’s a different story.
Then there are those who are on their way to the gate, baggage claim, Starbuck’s, wherever. They are simply unaware there are others walking in the corridor with them. They drag their bags and cut in front of people. They stop quickly to check a sign without moving out of the flow of traffic. They move as though everyone needs to get out of their way or they will be run over without even an “excuse me”.
Some people have business that must be taken care of regardless of where they are. They are too important to consider others. Just this past week, I saw a man about to give his ticket to board the plane. He was at the counter, the gate agent was waiting for him to hand her his boarding pass. He stopped to continue his phone call. She waved him out of the way. He put up his hand to stop her and continued on the call. All the while, others behind him were waiting to board. I was just about to walk up and tap him on the shoulder when the gate agent moved him aside. He gave the gate agent a look like: “How dare you?”
When I exit a plane I clean up after my seat mates. I used to cringe. Now, I laugh at people who will leave their trash in the seat pockets or on the seat. Just before landing the attendants come through the cabin ‘one last time’ to pick up any items the passengers want to discard. But these people don’t pay any attention. The plane lands. Everything they don’t want to take gets pushed into a seatback pocket, or left on the seat.
These people are so inconsiderate of the flight crew and of those who will be sitting there next. It’s all about them. That’s all they care about. They know someone will take care of it and they don’t care who. I want to be considerate so I take care of it. Is it my responsibility to look after those who are too into themselves to care about others? I care, so I’ll do it. Plus I get a little satisfaction when I can ask them if they plan on leaving their trash. Then I tell them that I’ll throw it away for them.
I’ve mentioned it before and I believe it to be true. If a person is nice to you, but not your server, then they are not a nice person. A good qualification for leadership is consideration. If a person is not considerate of those who around them, they will not be a good leader. They may exercise authority. They may have a great knowledge. They may manipulate well. But eventually they will lose their leadership to someone who is simply nice.
Points to Ponder –
How considerate are you of others? How aware are you of the situations around you at any given time?
Are the words: ‘excuse me, please, thank you and you’re welcome’ part of your normal vocabulary?
Do you clean up after yourself? Do you take care to clean up for others who are less considerate?