Who Cares?

In a recent conversation with a friend who works for a major global services provider, I stood, mouth opened, to what he was sharing with me.

Here was someone, with over 20 years service in front line, i.e. serving high-end Clients directly, without a day off in that time for sickness.  Earlier this year he had cause to not be able to work, being signed off by the Doctor, spending one or two nights in Hospital and needing to take medication throughout.

During his time off, some sixteen days in total, he felt he was hounded by his Manager, those responsible for his shift schedules, and made to feel ‘less than’, because he was off sick.  I understand why it is necessary to for organisations like this to know what is going on, but the way he described the conversations certainly opened my eyes. On returning to work he felt the way he was being treated about needing to arrange his workings around a Hospital appointment to be unreasonable.

Of course, in any conversations like this, we only ever hear one side of the story, but it did get me thinking.

Firstly, were they really listening to my friend, were they listening to the person obviously committed to his job.  If so, what would they have heard?  What would they have learned?  In being fully heard how would my friend have responded?  How differently might he have shared his story? Secondly, does he feel trusted, i.e. were they doubting his sickness?  Does he feel like he is being treated like a child rather than the mature adult? Finally, he serves, as in really serves face to face, high-end Clients of this company.  How much of his goodwill has now been eroded?  What are his levels of tolerance and patience now?  Will his Clients feel different, at an unconscious level, now?

For sure, he will continue to be professional, but we have all experienced professional service with little or no heart, and it really feels different.

Contrast this with a company I am proud to know very well.  One lady was due to start working for the said company on the Monday.  On the previous Friday a close relative passed away and so she called in to explain the situation.  They listened, she felt heard, and they told her to take as much time off as she needed.  She ended up starting work a week later than planned.  Imagine her surprise when she realised she had been fully paid for that first week.  What a different story she will be telling her friends about her new company.  How different a mindset will she have when she is working, serving her Customers?  How will that goodwill ‘rub off’ on all those she interacts with over the course of a day?

Two different people, two different organisations, two very different results.

Which one listened?  Which one cared?


Colin D. Smith
Colin D. Smith
COLIN is ‘The Listener’, a listening skills specialist and the ‘go-to’ person for individuals and teams who want to be heard, think for themselves, and transform their business and personal relationships through active listening. Colin has that innate ability to actively listen to people. He works with management, project and creative teams, facilitating the development and improvement of their listening and thinking skills. Thereby equipping them to more effectively meet their business, relationship and service challenges. He also works privately with individuals, enabling them to feel heard and valued, to think more clearly for themselves, articulate their creative ideas, address their personal concerns, and achieve their personal and professional goals. Colin has had a varied and successful career in consultancy, business development, IT and customer support, across many sectors, including finance, motor, retail and the NHS. In looking back he realises that much of his success was due to his listening and connecting abilities. His inquisitive and curious mind also enables him to explore, with others, unusual, thought-provoking, yet grounded, observations and alternative approaches to business, people, systems, and change. To make things happen, and to take ideas and thinking further, he connects his Clients with his trusted network of entrepreneurs, consultants, thought leaders, free thinkers, coaches and change makers.

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