We are all born with a marvelous sense of wonder and awe. Think about it. The next time you see a baby; watch their faces and bodies as they learn to do something new. Rolling over onto their back for the first time, taking that first step without holding on, drinking from the Sippy cup all by themselves…a baby’s eyes will get wide with excitement, they’ll smile, maybe even clap their hands or wiggle their legs and feet. They did it! Not only does the baby react with excitement, the adults who are present for these momentous events get excited too. They smile, laugh, clap their hands, and praise the baby for the achievement. While the baby is learning the new skill, the adult is present to guide and assist until the baby is able to perform on their own. Then something happens along the way. The laughter, clapping, and guidance stop for some reason.
As we mature, we begin to get new kinds of messages from those in authority. Maybe it’s our parents, the older siblings we look up to, coaches, teachers, scout masters, or even the media who begin to tell us we’re not good enough, strong enough, pretty or handsome enough, intelligent enough, etc. These negative messages play over and over in our minds until we come to believe the untruths we’re told by those we admire and trust.
What does all this have to do with customer service?
Negative messages about our skills, abilities, and outward appearances to the world erode our sense of self-esteem. Employees with low levels of self-esteem are generally unhappy people. I am sure this isn’t who you want serving your customers or prospects.
Here are some self-esteem facts:
- Self-esteem is the most important thing an employee brings to the job each day. An employee needs to feel good about themselves before they can help others feel good too.
- Higher levels of self-esteem are usually accompanied by higher levels of success. These two factors build on each other creating more success and greater self-esteem for the individual.
- Self-esteem begins in our heads. As adults, it is our responsibility to reverse the negative messages we hear and replace these with positive messages that we know to be true about ourselves.
- Unhappy people, and you know who they are, tend to have low levels of self-esteem. They tend to blame others (government, management, parents, siblings, etc.) for their problems, taking on the role of victim.
It is the smart CEO and manager who compliment their employees and contractors when their performance warrants praise and gently guides them when their performance warrants improvement or adjustment. This allows the employee to ultimately experience success. This communication is essential. Employees with healthy self-esteem mean happy employees and happy employees mean happy customers.
What behaviors and performance levels do you value? How do you communicate this to your staff?