Why Be Mean?

I was in a local bakery last weekend. It’s a very popular, small store where they bake the bread on the premises. Every weekend there’s a line out the door for the best bread in the area.

When I was close to the front of the line, there was a lady getting served who was just mean. She had a big order, that she wanted split into two for payment. She was getting some kind of special discount on half the order for cash. The young lady serving her was being helpful and doing her best, but made a genuine mistake.

The customer was huffing and making disparaging comments and it struck me: who gains from this? Obviously, the lady serving did not find it pleasant or helpful, the customer clearly was getting herself worked up without any benefit, even I was getting tense seeing the exchange. Surely, we should not let small things bother us. Being mean does not bring benefit to anyone!

Similar reactions happen in the business world too. Whether it’s a displeasing email or someone cancels on a meeting last minute, take a step back and be kind before jumping to the ‘mean’ response.

Please understand, I am not advocating allowing bad service to go unnoticed, or to never be forceful, but only do this when appropriate and when there is a purpose.

So whether you’re in traffic, at work, or in line at the bakery – don’t be mean!

Until next time…we are Advoco, make every minute count.

About Steve: In addition to being a founder and partner, Steve is Advoco’s resident math whiz—he has a PhD in Mathematics from the University of California, San Diego (his thesis was on the Total Curvature of 4-Dimensional Manifolds in 7-Dimensional Space), and a first class honors Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from St. Catherine’s College, Oxford University, U.K. Steve is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute and heads up our consulting practice. With over 20 years of technical project and program management, Steve consults with clients to solve the challenges that arise within complex systems. He is especially good at bringing together systems from multiple vendors within highly regulated environments. Have a question for Steve? Send him an email!