Treat the Janitor with Respect


The other day, I shared this quote on LinkedIn that someone else posted on LinkedIn. It is not my quote but I shared it because it is my belief.

Many years ago, I met regularly with a group of people on Monday nights to play volleyball in the high school gym.  Several of us showed up early to put up the nets on a weekly basis. Most of the time, the high school Janitor would have already swept the floor for us before we arrived.

One day near the end of the first semester of school in the month of December, I suggested to the person who ran the parks and rec drop-in volleyball that we should consider giving Kenny a gift for his work.  

The person I made this suggestion to looked at me like I was crazy as he stated the following:  

"Kenny gets paid by our taxes"
That statement really bothered me.  I did something for Kenny by myself.  When I saw the quote that sits at the top of this article, it made me think of Kenny.  He wasn't and still isn't a fancy guy but he works hard.  
He didn't ask for any kind of special treatment.  What he did do was his job.  I appreciated that Kenny swept the floor.  I don't think he had to sweep the floor for adult drop-in-volleyball as part of his job description but he did.
Over the years, I ran into Kenny on the softball field.  Not as a competitor but as one of our umpires.  I didn't run into him once in a while.  I ran into Kenny week after week.  Kenny was always friendly towards me.  The last time I saw him at a high school football game, he was still friendly to me.  
There is deep wisdom in the quote that sits above these words. If you don't already follow the words in the quote, give it a try.  

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Is the Empathy Strength in your Top Strengths?

Empathy is a powerful relationship building theme in the Clifton StrengthsFinder.  People who are gifted in this way have a built-in ability to sense others feelings.  This is important because people who are gifted in this way possess an instinctive and powerful ability to anticipate questions and they instinctively anticipate how others are feeling. 

Consider Dale Carnegie’s words.

Dale Carnegie (2).png

People with the Empathy Strength are generally very good at forming relationships that have great emotional depth.  In my proprietary research on what people want in a leader they are willing to follow, the topic of empathy came up frequently. 

People want to be listened to.  They want their thoughts and ideas to be considered and they want to be understood.  It takes Empathy to listen, consider and to understand.

Empathy is one of 15 skills measured by the EQi-2.0 Emotional Intelligence assessment.  The good news is that Empathy can be measured and improved upon.  Great managers need to possess Empathy.  Great leaders need empathy.

You can find out how you’re wired and you can learn how to turn your unique set of strengths into leverage that comes out in your personal power!

Jeff Snyder Coaching

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