ONE of the biggest challenges in training — whether for customer service personnel, sales executives or even company directors — is that teaching someone how to excel in their job and produce great results is hardly enough.
There are countless ways to solve a problem, a multitude of things you can say to someone to close a sale, and a maze of paths to choose when making a decision.
You can teach someone how to be technically fantastic at something, yet it can still not be enough.
For example, in customer service training, we focus on tone and emphasis exercises.
The way we say a simple greeting makes a huge difference as to whether we come across as cheerful, pleasant or robotic.
What we discovered was that while many participants thought they sounded cheerful or pleasant, their colleagues’ perception upon hearing it was that they sounded robotic.
In training, it is wonderful to see participants mastering the perfect tone and emphasis to convey an emotion or message.
However, it is important to note that in training, participants are extremely aware of the exercise and are trying their best.
In everyday life, it’s not enough that you know the difference between sounding cheerful and sounding robotic. You actually have to be a cheerful person.
It is like being in a relationship. We know how to be sweet and say all the right things to make someone feel special; and the question always is, is that the real you?
Will your true colours show once the first flush of love fades?
You know how to sound cheerful, but what happens when people aren’t as cheerful back?
What happens when you’re in a bad mood?
The problem is, as human beings, we won’t always be in a good mood. We won’t be as motivated (or as in love) as at the beginning of something new.
We might not feel the incentive to do more to impress, after awhile.
And there lies the problem — consistency.
For us to be consistently good at something, it is not just about being great at what we do. It is also our virtues as a person that make us great.
It’s the way we think, the way we treat people and the way we react to problems and situations.
There is such a perfect positive correlation between being great at our work and being a great person that more and more companies are hiring for attitude, believing that it’ll bring about aptitude and not the other way around.
“What kind of person am I?” and “what kind of person do I want to be?” are questions we need to constantly ask ourselves.
Personal growth and development may not be your main goal, but if you desire to be professionally successful then you definitely can’t do without it.
For any organisation to have (and retain) employees who contribute and have initiative, the leader or head of the company must be someone who inspires.
Being an outstanding leader requires you to go beyond just having a great mind — it is your personal values, beliefs and worldview that will have others wanting to follow you.
Some people I have met seem to have a perception that being nice is a deterrent to making good and smart decisions.
Being nice isn’t being a pushover. Being nice doesn’t make you less smart or more gullible.
It simply makes you a decent human being. And people like working with/for decent human beings.
Whether we are a leader of a company or its employee, being phenomenal at life, and hence our job, can be broken into four simple rule:
1) Treat people like human beings — This means, no screaming, shouting or throwing things, no matter how upset you are. This is a simple rule that parents should have taught their children at the age of five, but it is still not too late to learn. Making someone cry in the toilet or tremble with fear each time you talk to them makes you a very uninspiring and mean individual, which will, without a shred of a doubt, reflect in your work. Because if people don’t like you, they won’t work with you. And no one can work alone, no matter how good!
2) Do not be fearful — By this, I don’t mean you should be thinking along the lines of “I’m the king of the jungle and I’m not afraid of anything or anyone”. Don’t be fearful of someone being better than you, smarter than you or better-looking than you. Sometimes, our ego prevents us from thinking we’re jealous of someone, but our reluctance to share knowledge or teach portrays exactly just that. Don’t be fearful of being wrong and having to say sorry. Don’t be fearful of negative feedback. Don’t be afraid of working hard. Work on being a good and generous person, and you won’t ever fear anyone taking over your place. Because there’s only one you, and you’re growing to be better everyday.
3) Have genuine warmth — There is no difference between saying hello to your CEO or saying hello to the auntie serving you food in the cafeteria. It’s not about being humble — it’s about being aware that every single person is just as interesting, regardless of status. It shows that you aren’t self-absorbed and have the ability to communicate with people from all walks of life, and that is a valuable life skill to have at work indeed.
4) Be extremely effective — This is very simple: Return calls and messages when you say you will and remember to complete tasks without someone having to tell you twice.
What I’ve just mentioned are not ways of thinking and behaving that you can simply activate and leave behind at work.
They are habits and instincts that have to be ingrained into our very being, so much so that when we react, we react in the best way possible. And the only way to do that is to be the sort of person with a great mindset and worldview, not just act like one.
Talent is one thing. Our virtues as a person make up the other ninety-nine.
Decide on what kind of person you want to be, practise like crazy to get there and every kind of success — professional, financial, friendship, love — will follow.
> Xandria Ooi is a Malaysian TV & radio personality and the founder of Outfluential, a personal development and corporate training company. If you think there is correlation (or not) between how we live life and our quality if work, she'd love to hear you thought at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet her at www.twitter.com/xandriaooi.