Emotional Intelligence (EQ) a concept first coined by Daniel Goleman, can be learnt and improved.
The supplement in last weekend’s Dom Post in Wellington (Saturday 26 January 2013) had a feature about the terrible customers that turn up in hospitality settings and the often equally nasty things some workers do to get back at them. It was a story full of horror and negativity.
People who work in customer service, especially in hospitality can get jaded. Customers can be very difficult especially if they are affected by alcohol in bars and restaurants or highly anxious such as when travelling.
The process of changing our life position begins in earnest during adolescence when we develop competence and confidence in many things. With loving support and encouragement of mentors and peers, we gradually develop a sense of ‘OKness’. We need to be able to admit that at times we feel ‘not OK’. We need to be able to live with that discomfort and trust we can also change.
I’m OK, You’re OK. These life positions are chosen by a child when they are between two and three years old. The most common position chosen is “I’m not OK, You’re OK”. That is “I am little, I can’t do a lot of things, I can’t express myself clearly, I am clumsy and need lots of help from you, my parents and caregivers. “You, on the other hand, always help me. You clean me up, you can reach things, you feed me, you give me cuddles and you love me. You are OK.” This is the position a person lives with until they consciously change it. Many people don’t like the discomfort of this position and unconsciously try to overcome that by ‘acting as if’ they are OK. No matter how hard they try to do things well and be OK deep down they feel ‘not OK’. This life position becomes a problem when there is a conflict, such as when a customer is upset. If the customer takes the superior position they will act as if ‘they are OK’. They might rant and rave. They may complain loudly. The person on the receiving end will act according to their life script and act as if ‘I’m not OK’. More next time on what we can do about it.