A couple years ago I found myself on a Saturday morning conference call. It wasn’t a particularly special call. It was a regularly scheduled call with several hundred employees designed-I assume-to help everyone set intention for the upcoming retail day.
A certain amount of over the top rah rah is expected on these calls. Everything was going along as usual with the typical overuse of the word “excited” from various upper management (i.e. “excited to be on the call this morning” & “excited to connect as a team this morning”-even though listening to someone I’ve never met over a conference call where I am mandatorily muted is not actually connecting-& “super excited to serve clients today”-even though you’re not even in a client facing role, etc…).
About 10 minutes in one team leader “tossed it over” to another middle manager. This middle manager proceeded to describe his participation on the call as “my extreme pleasure.”
Now, there are only a couple of types of pleasure I can think of that can legitimately be described as extreme. All I could think was dear Lord I hope he’s wearing all his clothes right now.
I’m afraid that corporate culture especially customer service related corporate culture has fallen prey to the idea that in order to be successful we must function in an atmosphere akin to the stepford wives.
The client is not always right. Your work colleagues are not like family (except in extremely rare circumstances) You don’t always have to be excited to be at work. You don’t have to be manically happy in order to provide friendly service.
Everybody just calm down. Be professional. Highlight the positive but be honest about the negative. If you hate what you do go do something else. Work on being genuinely interested in your teammates and your clients. Curb your cynicism (yes I know what I just did there). Have a good attitude and add value.
If you’re one of those few truly over-the-top, irrepressibly eager people, great! That can be a real strength. But the rest of you-don’t fake it. You don’t have to experience “extreme pleasure” from a conference call on a Saturday morning in order to be good at your job and rally your team.