Leadership lessons from the pink corner: Be part of the solution

We arrived hot, bothered, tired and hungry. Almost 540km later we were looking forward to a cool shower, a hot meal and a good rest most definitely in that order. What we found was a single harassed concierge welcoming and checking in many guests. We introduced ourselves, were handed forms. With sticky sweaty hands, we filled them (I missed the cold towels one normally gets on arrival). I proceeded to watch as Jessie tore out her hair trying to serve everyone at once. Collect our forms, answer the phone to deal with uncleaned rooms, slap tags on wrists, patiently an answer a query there. It was a disaster.

Jessie was calm, trying her best to handle the pressure as she waited for support. Forty five minutes later we were still there but seeing how harassed she already was, I made the decision to make her work easier. I held my tongue and purposed to enjoy the experience. Payment time she was adamant that we needed to settle the 50% balance before check in. Wiping the now present rivers of sweat from our brow, we followed her to pay using our cards.

Unfortunately a couple made it ahead of us. She run their card and due to the poor network connection, approvals were not forthcoming. She needed to call the card centre for a local bank which happened to be my bank. She did not have their number. After waiting for a while, I went over and offered to call the card centre, called them, and handed her the phone to speak to them. She did and they were unable to support her for one reason or another. In the meantime we struck up a conversation and had a good laugh the other upset Italian customers, sharing card experiences. They then allowed us to try and make our payments as their issues were being sorted .( We skipped the queue 🙂 )

She tried and ours too did not work. Jessie was effusive in her gratitude for the support she got, this lady who had told us it was against hotel policy to allow us in before payment is complete, turned around. She allowed us to go without paying assuring us she would look for us the next day to settle our bill. She especially appreciated our calmness and help in making her work easier.

Now I am not a saint. On a good day my temper would have been lost after cooling my heels at that reception for almost 1.5 hours, but on this day I made a decision to put myself in her shoes and to be part of the solution. Many pots of special masala tea, smiling wait staff, after being taken through the hotel staff entrance so I do not have to walk far… I have felt really good to know I was not part of the problem, but became part of the solution. It is a decision I have not regretted.

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