Christina, working in guest relations at a major resort hotel in the Caribbean, was toward the end of a long day checking in happy guests flying in daily to escape winter and enjoy some warm sunshine, white sand, and turquoise beaches. The steady stream of check-ins was hectic but Christina never lost her sparkle and treated every guest with enthusiasm and a great deal of care.
When her next guest was a bit hostile and snarled at her, she chalked it up to a tough travel day for this weary business man and proceeded with her caring attitude and warm greeting. Her genuine enthusiasm was met with the statement, “Cut the crap, and just get me my room.” Christina was a bit put off but did as the guest requested knowing that when someone is deliberately acting with harshness being hostile and mean they could be a bit more than grumpy and tired, they could be a bully.
Bullies are a small population of the guest demographics, but can leave a trail of stressed out people in their path. They may intentionally act out behaviors that may violate human decency and dignity. Yet Christina had recently been trained and knew how to handle herself and be prepared in advance to handle bullies.
The guest continued berating her with unkind and abusive comments telling her she needed to get another job because, as he said, her resort was not up to standard and needed a major make over (although his actual words were more derogatory than this). Christina knew this guest was trying to get her to “bite the hook” so that he could escalate the conversation and continue insult her and her resort.
Christina moved quickly, reserved her own thoughts, knowing that she was just glad the encounter with this guest would be brief. As she was getting him checked in she noticed how he angrily tapped on the screen of his phone cursing under his breath in an audible whisper that made everyone turn and notice him in the area.
Christina was very adept at handling herself, her own internal dialogue, her thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and realized the bully could potentially become more explosive, so she was more conscious of holding on to her own personal power. She remembered from her training that bullying was all about power: who has it, who wants it, and who may want to try a power grab to take it from people who are unprepared.
Fortunately, she was prepared, and worked for a caring resort chain that had recently given training on this subject to all its guest relations staff. One of the main points she remembered was “no one has power over us unless we give it to them.” She was not about to give this guest her power. Christina maintained her own inner confidence as she did her job with as much poise as she could come up with.
Christina knew not to “personalize” the guest’s bullying and to handle him the best she could and move on. Bullies are real; they attempt to take hostages and dominate by taking other people’s power and leaving them feeling powerless. Bullying is widespread and can pop up anytime when least expected.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make us feel inferior without our consent.” Luckily Christina worked for a management team that taught her the tools she needed to take care of herself while she was taking care of the many guests in their Caribbean resort. She was prepared to hold on to her personal power as she managed this guest who exhibited bullying behavior.
Being prepared in advance made this guest interaction much easier for Christina and the rest of the guests observing the interaction. Christina took the “high road” and did not confront or retaliate with her words and judgments and remained empowered. Inside, she was just happy that this bully was not part of her life or worse a member of her family!
Once the interaction was over she moved on to the next guest, greeting them just as enthusiastically as she had all the others that day.
By Gay Lynn Grigas, MA Psy.
Author of 12 Tools to Keep Your Cool and Confidence
Gay Lynn Grigas, MA Psy. is an accomplished speaker, trainer, and consultant specializing in customer service and stress awareness issues. She is author of several books including “12 Tools To Keep Your Cool and Confidence-Trigger-Proof.” Visit www.trigger-proof.com.
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