I could write this from a human decency standpoint and help you to see that we should be kinder to each other and extol the virtues of living this way but I also know that the people who need to read this are thinking what’s in it for me. So let me tell you why kindness is a strategy that will make you more influential. In other words – it’s a better game plan.
Last week I got stuck in the middle of the chaos of Delta’s worldwide computer system going down. I was flying through Atlanta on my way to Boston. We landed at 7:30 and because of the system failure we couldn’t pull into the gate. We sat on the tarmac until 10:30 pm, there were hundreds of planes that were in our same boat so once they got the system back online it took quite a while to move everyone along. My flight to Boston, which was supposed to leave at 9:25, was rescheduled for 2 am, but at 2 am it was delayed again until 3:30 and then at 3 am it was officially canceled. So I ended up hanging out in the airport all night, getting on a flight at 6 am that went through Baltimore and got me into Boston at 10:30 am. I gave a speech at 2 and was back at the airport by 3:30 to head home. It was a heck of a day.
As a frequent traveler I am often exposed to people who are dealing with stress (lost luggage, delayed or canceled flights, etc…) and I have to be honest – I am quite often embarrassed to see how they behave. As we sat on the tarmac the pilot actually felt it necessary to make an announcement where he said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we are so sorry for this inconvenience. The entire system is down and right now there is nothing we can do. They are working to get it back up but I want to point out to you that being verbally abusive to the flight attendants is not going to make this situation better or get you out of here faster.”
I watched people yell at the Delta help desk people, literally cussing them out, and then ask them to help them fix their situation.
The point of my ramblings is to simply say – kindness is never a bad game plan. Honey attracts more bees than vinegar. People are more likely to help you, buy from you, do business with you, refer business to you, etc… when you are kind and they like you.