Serving Your Customers or Doing Your Job
One way or another, we all have customers. We may be supporting co-workers and managers, or we serve external consumers or business partners. How we approach our work may make a huge difference in our effectiveness and the perceived value of what we actually deliver. All in all, the only control we have over doing what can seem like a thankless job is changing our outlook on why we are doing it. If you are unhappy in your current situation, the following steps may help lead you to a new understanding of your role or to a new way of thinking.
Understand your motivation. Are you:
- Providing a service or simply completing tasks?
- Earning a paycheck or changing lives?
- Energized by finding solutions?
- Fueled by the successes of others or focused on your own?
- Encouraged by challenges and opportunities to learn, or are you feeling like you are in over your head?
Understand those you support. Do you:
- Anticipate your customers’ needs or wait until they call?
- Do what is asked or what is needed?
- Educate or tell them what to do?
- Do the tasks you like best or what they need you to do?
- Get frustrated by your customer’s changing needs?
- Re-adjust priorities based on your customers’ needs or follow your own schedule?
- See urgent situations as opportunities to make a difference or as inconvenient changes to routine?
Recognize your contribution. Are you:
- A partner with a vested interest in your customer’s success or an observer?
- A trusted adviser or an employee?
- A provider of solutions or do you typically stop at identifying problems?
- On time or do you get around to things when it is convenient?
- Reliable and trustworthy or mysterious and unpredictable?
Own the change if it isn’t a fit. Can you:
- Communicate more effectively?
- Negotiate the changes you desire?
- Respond differently when receiving an unwelcome request?
- Look for an alternative situation?
- Find ways to build skills to make the work easier?
If you are currently involved in a nagging work situation, it may be time to evaluate your options. You can stay and do nothing, find ways to change your own behavior or move on. One way or the other, you are the only part of the equation that you can control. Waiting for something to happen to you is unlikely to put you in a powerful position. Take action!