Leaders, Be A Great Customer
To truly know how someone’s character is, watch who they are in a different context.
If you have ever used the DISC assessment, you have been introduced to the concept of a “work” personality and a “home” personality. Many people exhibit a certain behavior in one area of their lives, and differing behavior in another aspect.
This is true even for the same role in differing contexts. A parent, for instance, may behave one way in public, and another way in their own home. Leaders often can behave in the same manner.
Leaders exemplify this as well in how they are as business people, and how they portrays themselves as a customer.
One person I have known for many years, a vice president of a family-owned enterprise, is a very social and knowledgeable person when he deals with his company and employees. But when he is a customer in that role dealing with other businesses, he oftentimes becomes passive aggressive in order to get the desired outcome he wants. His reputation over time has slipped from a high degree of credibility to someone to be wary of in any business dealing.
As a customer, there is a certain level of conduct that is becoming of a person of character. The way you handle being a customer shows how you may potentially deal with other areas of business, and your life.
If you want to make sure your reputation as a leader is solid through and through, consider how you conduct yourself as a customer:
- Do you expect that as a customer everyone must cater to you?
- Can you consider the processes of the business you work with to understand the systems and parameters they have to conduct business within?
- Does your professionalism slide, even to the point of bullying or lying, to get your way?
- Are you aware, or even care, how other companies perceive you?
- Do you realize how your company is perceived, being their representative?
- Do you think that your status as an “important” customer can hold a business hostage to cater to your whims?
- Are you adding value as a customer for that business or just taking away their resources?
- Are you collaborating with your business partners to work towards solutions to the benefit of all parties?
- What have you been able to identify in the industry with your business partner to help them gain market share, advance innovation, or promote your companies and/or the industry?
These questions are not only pertinent to being a professional. They can be asked of us in our non-work environment as we interact with cashiers, servers, teachers, city officials, and others throughout our lives.
Keep in mind that the way people perceive you as a customer is the way they perceive you as a leader, parent, and person. You are only as credible as your last interaction.
A great leader is also a great customer. By being professional and someone of integrity who adds to the business relationship, your impact on your industry and reputation in it will make other companies want to work with you.
How will you be a better customer today?!