I can still hear my mother's voice in my head telling my 14 year old self to watch my attitude. And though she was threatening recriminations for my continued crabby tone, her advice goes way beyond my adolescent angst. Don't we, as a general rule, tell ourselves to think positively, out of some subconscious superstitious fear of our negative thought suddenly materializing into absolute reality? And while that one chipper neighbor may drive us a little crazy, there is great value to watching your attitude.
Most business owners work hard to maintain a positive attitude with their clients, but what about their employees? While perusing one of the accounting publications I follow, I found the following article…
Art of Accounting: My Boss Hated the Client By Edward Mendlowitz
Early on my boss took me to a client that I was to work on. He started to explain what needed to be done and what the client did, but then he said, “I hate this client—everything is always messed up and nothing ever makes sense.”
He also told me my work area was in the factory. I would probably have to move a chair next to a carton that would serve as a desk, and he warned me the lighting wasn’t too good.
His remarks were like a kiss of death. For the next five or six months, I dreaded going to the client, always thinking how messed up they were and nothing ever made sense. Then it dawned on me that I was the person doing the work, and things were in order. The carton I worked on was a few feet from where the client packed his shipments. When he did, he always chatted with me about his business, customers, employees and pricing strategies.
He also told me things he liked to do, such as going to the opera (which I did too) and vacations he took or would like to take. The client also would buy me a sandwich to have lunch with him. I got very friendly with him. And then I asked myself why I dreaded going there. I loved working there! It became my favorite client that I eagerly looked forward to visiting.
My boss's idle remark prejudiced me against the client, and it took me months to get over it.
The takeaway for me was that when I became a boss, I only said great things about a client, influencing the staff to like the client and eagerly look forward to working with them. Negative remarks about a client never left my lips! Actually, negative remarks were never applicable—my clients are all great!
And while I feel like I have the opportunity to work with great people, this article was a good gut check for me to take stock on my attitude. And while the occasional bad day can always be forgiven, it's important not to let your bad attitude ruin your day or anyone else's.
“A bad attitude is like a flat tire. If you don't change it, you'll never go anywhere.” – Unknown