Shopping for some can be a very relaxing and enjoyable experience. Some of my friends like to think of it as a type of therapy….retail therapy, that is!
But have you ever been in a situation, as a customer, where you had to watch an employee be yelled at by the boss? It can be an uncomfortable situation for the customer and an embarrassing one for the employee.
The other day, I was at a big box department store, and I was asking the employee in the housewares aisle about a particular product that I couldn’t seem to locate on the shelves. She told me she thought all of the merchandise they had was on the sales floor but that she would check with her manager who happened to be passing by just at that moment.
Obviously in a hurry, this manager seemed annoyed with the inconvenience of the question and told the employee that if she would come in on time just once in a while, she might be better informed of the merchandising and sales changes. She then hurried off to whatever was more pressing than making this sale because the employee and I were both left without an answer to our original question.
The exchange left me wondering what kind of managers this company hires. Despite the fact that this employee is tardy and possibly presents other challenges to manage, shouldn’t she still be treated with dignity? I felt sad for this employee, seeing her face redden with embarrassment.
The exchange also made me, as the customer, feel uncomfortable, like I was witnessing something that was none of my business.
When it comes to the choice of making a point or preserving the dignity of those who work for you, always choose preserving their dignity. It’s a first step in gaining an employee’s respect for you.
When it comes time to have difficult conversations with your employees, where, when, and how do you choose to do this? Has a boss ever embarrassed you in front of a customer?
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