I've been taking a series of two day workshops on various topics relating to management and supervision. I got one management class while in library school and it just wasn't enough. It isn't until you get into a management position that you truly discover your lack of skills. I believe that we learn to manage by being managed. In other words, we pick up all of the worst and best parts of all of the supervisors we've ever had. And if we're not very, very conscious of what we're doing, we will pick up the worst more often than the best. So I've been working on becoming a better manager. Here's what I learned on Day 1 of Session 3.
Morning Session: Customer Service
Just when I thought I knew everything about customer service (12 years as a reference librarian) I came and learned a bit more. The best part was a delightful video called “The Guest” where party guests are treated in the same manner as they were when they were in a work environment. FUNNY!! The rude clerk is a rude hostess flinging “snacks” at her guests and eventually wacking one with a serving tray.
Fair or not, you’re expected to leave your baggage at the door when you come to work and your baggage should not impact your interactions with customers and coworkers. This concept and the way it was put across in the course was very interesting. I have a responsibility as a manager to insure that this unfair fact is practiced by those I supervise.
Another video classified difficult customers into three categories:
Not only are our customers these three types, but coworkers, and employees can be classified into these types.
There are two wrong methods of dealing with difficult customers
- Try to avoid the situation or dealing with it
- Avoid blame
- Escalate the interaction
Listen (without judgement, and with patience) I thought it was interesting to see the breakdown of how we can respond to a difficult person in the wrong way. The right way is apparently to:
I thought it was interesting to see the breakdown of how we can respond to a difficult person in the wrong way. The right way is apparently to:
Apologize (to show empathy and that you are sorry they are unhappy)
Thank (and invite back)
Afternoon Session: Violence in the Workplace aka Organizational Well-Being
According to the Department of Labor 2.9 million workers lost their jobs in the years 1997-2001. Sixty-one reacted by murdering someone in the workplace.
OSHA reports homicide is the second leading cause of work-related deaths.
Prevention is the most important key, reference checks and background checks where appropriate. Also, paying attention to personnel behaviors, isolation, disgruntlement, belligerent behavior, threats, any behavior that seems off-norm for that employee and escalates in a negative way.
(All quotes and statistics are from the manual that was distributed at the session)
That was quite the session!