I confess, I am bar-humbug! I have blamed 10 years in Retail Management as the root cause of this state of mind. And with good reason too. I have witnessed 10 seasons of perfectly normal, polite, considerate and articulate people (staff and customers) progressively morph into short tempered, inconsiderate, impatient, aggressive and raging people over the Xmas season.
Cases in point:
- The only times that I have ever been verbally and aggressively abused for doing my job – was over the Xmas season.
- The only times that I have witnessed self inflicted disappointed, stressed and disillusioned people en-masse, – was over Xmas (usually because they couldn’t find that “perfect” present that they wanted, or after Xmas when they come to return their presents for monetary refunds only to realise that the gifts weren’t as expensive as they originally thought or were led to believe!)
- The only times that I have had to physically break up fights between customers was …yep Xmas! Indeed, the fisticuffs over the turkey fridges on Xmas eve were a sight to behold…for all the wrong reasons!!!
Yes, Retail Management is definitely the cause…or so I thought.
Thankfully, I now know better. The real culprit is … Ineffective Communications skills!
Communication is the giving, receiving, processing and interpretation of information. Information in turn can be conveyed verbally, non- verbally, actively, passively, formally, informally, consciously or unconsciously.
If the communication used is appropriate for the situation, it leads to a most successful outcome. Ineffective communication on the other hand, can and does occur in all walks of life, amongst all types of people and in all work and relationship situations and leads to inappropriate emotions which in turn generate inappropriate behaviours such as the ones I saw (and continue to see) during the Xmas season.
Xmas heightens the opportunities for bad communications and influencing skills and therefore bad behaviours. It starts with people not giving the right information about their expectations and requirements for the Xmas season (in work and play)and culminates in people’s expectations not being managed properly because the information has not been received and interpreted properly to allow the most appropriate actions to be taken.
It baffles me when people say that Communications and Influencing skills are “easy” and “common sense”. Yes, we have been communicating from the day we were born and these skills are the most basic tools for working with, and relating to people. However, in these days of economic hardship and stress in work and business, crafting and delivering the most appropriate communications for the situation so that it can be received and processed in exactly the manner that you intended it to, continue to be a major challenge which should not be underestimated and dismissed.
So, all I want for Xmas is … for all of us to work especially hard on our Communications and Influencing skills especially at this time of year, so as to better weather the storm that invariably goes with the pre and post Xmas territory .
If you or your team need any assistance with this, we at Facilitate4me are happy to help.
If you agree, disagree or want to include your observations/ experience to this post, we’d love to hear from you. Please forward your comments us.