Insights on Behavior #14: I Treat Others With Dignity and Respect
Last week, I was talking with a client who shared an incident that happened at work the previous week. She told me of a customer who had called regarding a billing problem. As she described it, it seemed like it should have been a simple transaction. Unfortunately, it escalated quickly because the customer began screaming at a member of her team. She got on the phone call immediately and, in the calmest and most respectful voice she could muster, said:
“Good afternoon, this is Gloria, Senior Manager of the Billing Department. I understand there is an issue with your billing, and I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. I do want to assure you that we are aware of the issue and will work to resolve it, and we’ll get back to you with a solution as quickly as possible. What number may we call you back at when we resolve this issue? Thanks very much for your time and consideration. We will call you as soon as we have this resolved. Have a great rest of your day.”
After the call, she told me that what she WANTED to say was quite different, especially after the customer was so openly hostile, rude, and disrespectful. But she made a conscious decision to engage with dignity and respect—despite how incredibly hard it was to do! She wanted to yell at the guy, she said…to belittle him. But she didn’t. She chose a different path.
Making the Choice
We all face a choice like this every day—probably several times a day given the number of interactions we have with co-workers, clients, family members, and service providers. It’s inevitable. We can’t avoid it. What we can control, however, is our response. How we react and how we treat others is a choice.
The choice of an exemplary leader is to always treat others with dignity and respect, just as you would want to be treated. You are exhibiting trust in the other person when you assume that they are also operating from a place of good intentions and goodwill – assuming the best.
By your words and actions, you are communicating that you value your co-workers, customers, and everyone with whom you interact. I liked this short blog found on the Dignity & Respect Campaign website shares 30 tips for treating others with dignity and respect.