We have those customers, co-workers, and people in our lives that instantly tell us when they need help or are frustrated by our actions or inaction. They demand results and demand them right away, and then we comply, learn from it, and everything is good until the next issue (big or small) arises, and we do the dance again. While it is not always the most comfortable experience, we have the benefit of knowing exactly what is on their mind, and the level of urgency it requires.
What about those that are just super nice? We have an easy-going relationship with them, working together is very enjoyable, and even when there is a problem it seems small because they are so nice they don’t want to be one of our problems. Then all of a sudden we are blind-sided by something that has been festering for a long time. It goes something like this:
- Nice person let’s us know of an issue, but they are not upset and they do not make too much of it.
- We catalog the issue if it cannot be resolved immediately.
- The issue slowly sinks to the bottom of the to-do list because the sense of urgency has been muffled by how nice of a person they are.
- They reach out again and let us know there is still an issue, but they may say things like “it is no rush”, or “you are always so helpful”.
- The issue starts sinking to the bottom of the list again, and now it has become one of those never-ending, pending issues, that still does not have a high-level of priority assigned to it.
- They reach out – or worse, their boss or someone else the issue is impacting reaches out and they want to break up with us.
- We go into panic mode and are either lucky enough to save the situation, or we lose the relationship.
How did it all go wrong?
- We did not adjust for their personality; the reality is that they asked us for help, just like someone who may have screamed it, and there is likely someone else that will scream it for them at some point.
- We did not look out for them; it is our responsibility to go the extra mile for them (especially them) in our support. The reality is that they are pressured if they are asking for help, and we are hurting those that are the kindest to us if we do not deal with their issue as seriously or more seriously than we would any other.
- We assumed that their attitude was reflective of the level of the problem;
In summary, we should not let personality types diagnose the severity of a problem, or the urgency needed in finding a solution.