social kindness is not losing your temper

I was at a client the other day for a meeting about social media and online brand and there was a large queue at reception.  One side of the queue had normal business people like me lined up to register for meetings and the other side was a registration for a CEO/CIO summit meeting in the financial industry. 


The queue on my side was progressing nicely but the other side was held up on occasion by people standing on my side of the counter giving the receptionist a really hard time.  Men in sharp pinstriped expensive suits with really loud voices were being rude, aggressive and pushy to the receptionist who was trying to find their registration and badge, or print off a badge for those who weren’t registered for the meeting even though they insisted that they were.  The receptionist was unruffled, calm, patient and friendly in the face of this judgemental tirade about how inefficient and inaccurate she was and how slow the line was moving and I marvelled at her composure.


It looks like the receptionist had learned to tame her Amygdala (the mood bender in the brain that Ellen talks about on her blog) and perhaps disassociate the abuse she was receiving from the feelings she had – snipping this amygdala – and responding with kindness instead.

I’ve found that kindness costs nothing, creates a smile when you’re not expecting anything and pays kindness forwards .  Kindness counts.  And it makes you feel good too for delivering the good deed with your simple act of social kindness.

I’ve talked about random acts of kindness in technology and referred to the list of how to pay it forward and we could all do with these lists of kindness in the workplace


But this angel in reception, although she was probably right about the registration mess up, never let it show at all to her clients and remained in good humour and kind nature throughout.  Very commendable indeed.  I have much to learn from her….

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3 thoughts on “social kindness is not losing your temper

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention social kindness is not losing your temper « Eileen's Technology blog --

  2. James O'Neill

    Two thoughts.
    One from Robert Townsend’s up the Organization (back in print on Amazon)
    “If I ever design a head office, executives row will look like the cubicles of a Trappist monastery. and the telephone switchboard area will look like a Turkish harem. Money spent on offices for the management is largely wasted. If they are any good it will be apparent to anyone after few minutes no matter how plain or fancy their office is.
    On the other hand, how would you like to try doing the telephone operator’s job for a day? Remember, you’re the company’s first contact with the outside world you’ve got to be alert and bright and helpful and quick.”
    Good companies know this and work hard to put good people in all those first contact with the outside world jobs. Looks like you met one, and it’s a sign of a good company.

    Two. One of these days someone will whip out a video camera and quietly record someone ranting at some poor hapless receptionist “I’m the CEO of Universal Widgets PLC don’t you know …”, the video will go onto youTube – and they will go the way of that official on the Tube. There is never any excuse for that behaviour – in a CxO position you are always representing the company and your manners should be better, not worse and, to be blunt, anyone who rants at a front-line who didn’t cause the problem but can put it right is too stupid to be a CxO

    1. eileenb Post author

      I knew you’d get it right on the head. These people have the patience of saints and have to deal with some horrible people – they should be appluded for their calm attitude and demeanour – I wish I could achieve the same levels of Zen with only half the aggravation 🙂

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