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You catch more flies with sugar than vinegar (The Anti @sshole Checklist)

@ssholes, we've all seen them, maybe we've been them at some point, but @ssholes, in business or elsewhere are no fun to deal with and can create a bad tone in any office and at any social engagement. Some of the anti-@sshole behaviours I've found are below ( you know, "be the change you want to see" and all that).


What would you add to this list? Starting with what you can control (yourself and no one else)

  • Remember people's names when you meet, are introduced to, or interact with them. If you don't quite catch it, ask for it again. Someone's name is the ultimate in personalization. If it's on their nametag, use it (if it says "Trainee" or "I'm new here" ask what their name is believe me - they'll smile and give you better service)

  • Smile when you speak. OK not a fixed grin (I agree that's weird) but a smile is disarming and softens even the most challenging request. Smiling even changes the way you sound to others

  • Use "please" and "thank you". Even if you think no one is noticing, you stand out by using those simple phrases. Going overseas? Learn to say hello, please and thank you in the language of the nation you are visiting, even if your accent is horrible a willingness to try does make a difference

  • Listen when people talk to you. Looking over someone's shoulder at the rest of the room while they are talking shows you don't value what they are saying. Zoning out sends a poor signal. Pay attention, you might be surprised at what you hear

  • Pause before you react when you get bad or disappointing news. Delayed flight? messed up hotel reservation? you face will likely show your disappointment / anger / frustration, but by pausing before you react you can choose a better way to respond and likely get a better result

  • Use neutral language in emotionally charged situations. Related to the bullet above, when you respond with language that is blaming, rude or dramatic you are literally creating the stage for more frustration. "This is terrible!" becomes, "this is not what was expected / agreed"; "who is to blame for this?" becomes, "how did this happen?" and, "what are you going to do about this?!" becomes, "how can we resolve this?" Neutral language softens the issue and opens the door for a collaborative approach where the other person is more likely to work it you not at cross purposes.

  • Seek to understand their point of view Showing your openness can be disarming and give you an "in" to learn more about the "why" behind the @sshole behavior; by listening you are offering a chance for them to express themselves and get to underlying feelings and emotions.

What would you add to this list?


Post Script

Yes some people are just @ssholes I get it, but if you do the above you are part of the tone setting that limits those bad behaviors and creates a more positive environment.

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