This seems like a simple, given concept, doesn’t it? Our society calls it “common courtesy,” but the truth is, being nice isn’t a common art. Today, I want to talk with you about a culture of graciousness.
I get to work with numerous organizations, in multiple sectors. In my consulting, I meet some of the nicest people; I also meet some of the meanest people (hint: yes, I see both categories in churches!). There are many people who do not have a spirit of graciousness about them. They’re busy, they have places to be and things to do, and they want everything the way they want it. When you talk to these individuals, you feel like you’re interrupting them from something more important.
Sometimes, I encounter people who struggle to be nice at places like Information or Customer Service desks. Their t-shirt says, “May I help you?” but their attitude says, “Don’t bother me.” They don’t make eye contact; they may not acknowledge that you’re there right away. You start feeling like, “Am I bothering you?” Have you ever had an experience like that? My guess is that you’ve had many such encounters.
Every organizational team needs to work hard to make sure your representatives are nice. “Nice…” That word is overused in our society. I mean it in the purest form of the word. Yes, your team members need competence. However, if they don’t have a foundational niceness about them, competency won’t go a long way at all. Your customers care less about the skills and abilities you show them than the way you make them feel. If they sense that you’re merely tolerating them, they’ll find someone else who will make them feel wanted and accepted.
Cultivate a culture of graciousness. Interact amongst your team in ways that promote the kind of attitudes and respect you want them to show to your clients and customers. When you set the example, your team won’t have any excuse not to show niceness to others. Don’t be one of those organizations who fits the cultural mold. Stand out by simply being nice.