There are three kinds of people in most workplaces – Drivers, Passengers and Flat Tires.
Drivers are those who create positive things around them. They are the ones who smile and make eye-contact with people who walk by. They engage people and look for positive things to talk about. They don’t bring their personal problems to work. They don’t treat anyone – whether they are co-workers, suppliers, or random strangers they encounter – as though they are invisible or unimportant. Drivers understand that a positive, vibrant workplace requires effort, and they are willing to make that effort. They understand the importance of internal customer service.
Passengers are those who show up for work, do their jobs, and clock out at the end of the day. They are pleasant and get along with their colleagues. They don’t initiate a lot of engagement with others, but they do become engaged when someone else initiates it. They don’t drag a workplace environment down, but they don’t do much to enhance it either.
Flat Tires are almost entirely focused on themselves. They do their work and don’t see any real point in engaging with others. It never occurs to them to smile or say kind words to others. People who aren’t directly relevant to their jobs are completely invisible to them. They feel no responsibility for creating a positive environment. These are the same people who treat restaurant staff, delivery people or store employees like servants, with no regards for the human being in front of them.
One ‘Bad Apple’ Is All It Takes
Everyone would like to work in a positive, vibrant workplace. Sadly, however, there are often far too many people who don’t see this as part of their role. They think that this is just “the company’s responsibility.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Recent research, in fact, shows that it only takes one Flat Tire to drag down an entire workplace.
It’s not coincidence that Drivers more often get preferential treatment and promoted the fastest, Flat Tires are the first ones out of the door when times are tough, and Passengers don’t progress as quickly as they would like.
Which One Are You?
So, the question is, which are you? Here’s a quick way to find out: Grab a pen and a piece of paper. Write down all of the things you have done in the last couple of months that have made the lives of the people with whom you work a little better – even if it is just making the delivery guy smile. If your list is a long one, you’re a Driver. If you can’t think of anything, well…
“The best way to make someone else smile is to smile at them first”
Shaun Belding Is a Global Expert on Customer Service, Leadership and Building Positive Workplaces. To enquire about having Shaun speak at your next conference or event, contact The Belding Group at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 1-800-576-6860