Recently my wife, Nina, and I went on a cruise with 40 or so other fans of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, four actors and three staff. We were a tiny part of the 2600 passengers on the ship.
Dinner was in a large multi-level dining room that looked like it could hold an army.
Our group had four tables available to us. 3 of the tables were on the left side of the captain’s table, and the other was on the right side.
During the course of the voyage, our group learned that it was best to be a bit early for dinner so that one could avoid sitting at the table to the right. Why?
The serving team (wine steward, waiter and junior waiter) working the left side smiled all the time. That team made everyone at those three tables happy to be there.
The serving team at the table on the right NEVER smiled. The two times Nina and I ended up at that table I felt like we had been sent to Siberia. “When would we ever go back to the happy tables?” is all I could think about.
What accounted for these differences?
The head waiters managing each of these teams were responsible.
The happy team was managed by a head waiter who smiled and made you feel that he was pleased to be helping serve you and the other diners his teams were responsible for.
The unhappy team was managed by a head waiter who never smiled and made one feel that he would rather be anywhere else than where he was.
Each team was modeling the messages, verbal or otherwise, that its leader was sending.
What message(s) do you send to your team? Do you say one thing but demonstrate something else? Could any member of your team tell you what they think is very important to keep in mind when they are representing your company?
Think about it. Ask your people.
After all, do you want your clients to feel that they are smart for having your company work for them or not? It all depends on how you serve your employees.