Sometimes, I get in a funk. We all do, from time-to-time. I realize, however, that I’m leading a charmed life, especially in comparison to some of our brothers and sisters in places like Syria, Iraq, or any of the many other trouble spots in our world.
You may have heard the Latin phrase, Primum non nocere, which means “first, do no harm.” Although it’s often associated with the physician’s Hippocratic Oath, the original oath does not include the precise phrase. It is, however, taught in medical schools as part of medical ethics classes and it has an important connotation for those of us who serve end-users and other customers.
I recently had a conversation with a client who told me he sometimes hears complaints from his end-users that he’s being rude. He told me that he didn’t feel like he was being rude at all.
I doubt he was being rude, but I suspect he maintains a “strictly-business” demeanor around the office. I’ve noticed in our email exchanges and phone calls that his responses to me are terse and strictly-business with no trace of humanness. He’s really beyond formal, in that his emails don’t even include a greeting (“Hi Don” or “Dear Don”), a complimentary close (“Kind regards” or “Sincerely”), or even an email signature. I noticed in our phone conversations that he didn’t initiate any sort of attempt to connect with me as one person to another. Of course, I’m seen as a vendor and sometimes treated differently from, say, co-workers. Still, I wonder if a clue to his problem with end-users might be found in the way he interacted with me.
When our work involves serving others, it’s important for us to be good listeners. Being a good listener can be difficult at times. I’ve created a video to accompany this blog post with the ten tips to help us all become better listeners, whether at work with our customers, end-users, and colleagues or at home with our spouse, children, and friends.
We listen at five different and distinct levels. How you listen to your end-users and customers will have a significant impact on your success, and that of the overall I.T. support team or, for that matter, your entire organization. As important as how you actually listen is how you are perceived to listen.
When you think of grace, what comes to mind? Perhaps it’s the fluid movements of a beautiful ballet. Maybe you think of the words of appreciation expressed before a meal. Another form of grace is unmerited divine assistance given to us. Whether you believe in religious teachings or not, I’m convinced that graces exists and I’m really glad of that! Hear me out.