Once an arsehole always an arsehole.
I know of people that as their job has grown and as their status has shifted they have progressively turned into arseholes. I am on a one-woman issue to show that you don’t have to be an arsehole to be successful in business and that kindness and courtesy and a bit of patience costs you nothing.
So, for example, I had an interview meeting cancelled by email last Friday – which was somewhat inconvenient to say the very least as I was already half way up to London from Brighton. So I could have been an arsehole when the researcher finally called to say ‘had you seen my cancellation email’. Instead, I said ‘shit happens – but if it happens again can you please call me instead of email’ and the interview was rebooked, no harm done and all I lost was an hour or three.
Now my time is very precious but you can’t be too precious when you are dealing with people. Now I do this for one reason only – i.e. I am not an arsehole – but I am going to add a whole stack of reasons as to why it’s not good to be an arsehole other than it’s the right thing to do.
It sounds completely weird doesn’t it having to set out additional benefits of being nice – but the more and more ‘entrepreneurs’ I meet the more bloody egos I see and I reckon just common decency is no longer enough to guarantee people are pleasant. So here’s my efforts to be a one woman advocate of kindness to everyone – regardless of who you are.
Everybody matters – you never have any idea who is who and who you are throwing your weight around in front of. I go undercover in my business – and there has been the occasional times where I have stood behind someone being an arsehole whilst they kicked off – for me to let them finish then give them their marching orders. We ask our team to vet potential suppliers, employees and suppliers – if you’ve been rude to my team in the front office – I’ll know about it the moment you’ve left so you may have done an A star performance – but if my team report is a big fat F you’ll be getting no contract from me – because underneath it all I know you’re an arsehole – and that’s how you are going to treat my business.
You have no idea who actually has the ‘power’. Trust me by being decent to theoretically entry level team members I have had problems solved, events run like a dream, upgrades and personal service that to be frank you’d get in a 5* hotel rather than in a conference centre. Just by being nice.
Even if someone is being a bit shit – you have no idea what’s going on in their lives. Your patience and understanding might be the only kindness someone has afforded them all day – and just by accepting an error or two, saying genuinely ‘it doesn’t matter’ or saying, ‘ I hope you day improves’ can really turn a person’s day around.
And think about whose fault something is – I remember hearing a story about a certain entrepreneur who took a fellow business owner out for dinner, and tried to order a particular wine. When that wine was not forthcoming he had a go at the waitress like it’s her fault. What an arsehole. She’s not the business owner, she’s being paid £6 an hour – WTF is she supposed to do about it? Funnily enough, this guy has turned out to be a bit of a w***** on all sorts of levels so this behavior is quite synonymous with whom he is.
People who have been treated badly have a very long memory. Trust me on this one – be kind, people remember you, be an arsehole and you are written into their revenge list – one way of another.
What goes up can come down – and you will have support and kindness if you are a decent person. I had a tough time a few years or so ago in business – and I actually had suppliers offering to work with me for free whilst I went through this period – I couldn’t believe their kindness. But as one of them said, ’Kate when it’s just business you just do it for the money, when it’s for someone you like, you do it because you care’. I actually wept.
Whereas an arsehole or three haven’t even been able to get a job in the industry that they once flew in because of their reputations and the way they treated people has been remembered long after their demise. Pretty karmic eh?
There’s a few prescriptive behaviors that I prescribe if you want to hone your being nice skills. Help a person a day – do one thing every day to be nice. When you think you are going to say something to an arsehole, just button your lip. Try and see it from the other person’s perspective – you could make their day by being kind.
And a welcome side effect of this? It’s contagious – if you are nice, then people are nice and then more and more people are nice and we can create a revolution! Right, that enough here from hippy central.
Go have a great day. And help someone else have a great day too.