May 5, 2017
C-Store Managers often get negative comments from their employees, customers and even their superiors at times. Obviously, it may not be obvious to consider What drives c-store results – blunt honesty or polite excuses? naturally, we want to hear polite feedback. However, it is important to consider that not all nice words are helpful and not all blunt statements have bad intent. In fact the motivation behind a negative comment may be an expression of honest desire to help. Not everyone is great at delivery. C-Store employees are often young. Of course, their communication skills may not have yet developed. Try to understand that the underlying reason for the complaint. Just think what drives c-store results may be comment comes over as blunt and even rude.
People, by nature, want to be kind or they don’t want to invest the time in your problems at all. The natural tendency is to agree and tell you what you want to hear. However, hearing the truth helps find problems. Be grateful to learn regardless how something is said. When you coach, do you tell who you are coaching what they want to hear or do you tell them what they need to know to improve?
“Sometimes you must seem to hurt something in order to do good for it.”
― Susan Cooper, The Grey King
As hard as it is to admit, some of the most effective coaching I ever received was when a trusted person told me he needed to stop wasting his time trying to help me because nothing was getting accomplished. It hurt like crazy, but made me dig deep to find the problem and take action. I am still not sure if it was the the comment or the blunt way it was said but it motivated me to fix the problem and accomplish what was to be accomplished. I later thanked him and made sure he knew that his help was indeed valuable.
While it hurt during the moment, I knew this person had spent months taking time to listen to me and provide feedback. There was no selfish motive in his comments. I decided to listen first and ignore my feelings. After all, there were some very reasonable facts that sparked the comment. Very little had been accomplished at the time. I took time over the following weeks to review the information I had and made some big changes.
Driving C-Store Results
The real painful news was that it took over a year to turn the situation around. Just because I listened, it did not make it any easier. The great news is that the changes worked and things got better. Now I decide to view all things from the outside perspective. It is faster and saves time.
The person could have been more polite. Clearly, he could have kindly made a polite excuse. Of course, I may have missed the important point. Naturally, I could have lost the message in his kinds words. It may not have hit home. Even worse, I may have believed the problem to have been theirs and not my own. Now, when I have a tough problem, I ask for feedback. I encourage tough and honest feedback. Initially, the lesson may hurt, but I learn from it. So, I try even hard to listen and embrace the other person’s perspective. Regardless of how things are said, I want the truth. Even if it isn’t what I think I want to hear. Maybe its just what I need.