Paying It Forward?
As a result of work I travel a lot, and on the whole I enjoy it. It gives me the opportunity to see other things, observe how other parts of the United Kingdom work, it gives reality to names on a map.
Recently I found myself travelling once again, this time by plane. Of course an essential of the process is the journey through security.
It’s a necessary evil and although a mite frustrating at times it needs to be done. Better checks to ensure things are safe, rather than no checks at all and a free for all for all who don’t see the world through the lens of the majority.
The frustrations of course occur when the person in front has a different perception from the rest of their travelling peers on what constitutes 100ml receptacles, clear plastic bags, belts, boots, electronic equipment and sharp instruments that can take your eye out, or indeed what they perceive is a firearm (ok the last one is a fib, but I wouldn’t be surprised).
Tensions also arise when the security staff are just not up to scratch by appearing disinterested and not engaging with the passengers. I have to say this has never been the case in my local airport of Edinburgh, it’s more London-centric or in US airports in my experience. You’ve got to keep smiling though. Tension sucks you dry and achieves nothing positive and definitely not a centimetre nearer that flight home.
However when people do a good job, I do think it’s important to recognise this and say thank you, especially when poor performance would have had a bigger impact on your outcome, delayed you further and caused the person in front to have a strop that only causes more delay. The queue can’t move until you do Mister, save the fury until you’re not holding up the forward motion process please.
So there I was having gone through security rather speedily in Heathrow Terminal 5, helped by a member of staff who did a great job of shepherding the queue. She offered advice and instruction in order that we in the queue all moved through so much quicker and with much less angst. I have noticed her before and how her queues moved quicker than others – remember I travel a lot, in case you think I have an unhealthy fixation. I decided to show my appreciation of her good work by speaking to her management.
After re-assembling my belongings I found the supervisor station and asked who was in charge today. You could see the relevant person steeling themselves for another moan, another why oh why tirade – sad that. I reinforced my smile, ensured my voice was cheery and positive as I passed on my praise and thanks regarding the female security officer in charge of the queue on that security channel, there. Perhaps the simple description of the “queue lady” would have sufficed but there you go.
The tension ebbed from the supervisors face, relieved that it was praise and not complaint. I do think we (human beings) are rather good at complaining and rather bad at praising until the person dies and we are offering a eulogy to the coffin’s inhabitant. She / He was a great person, worked hard, played well, made a great cup of tea, played the spoons like no other etc etc.
Act soon, smile and praise if it’s deserved. I’m not talking empty platitudes here.
We all appreciate positive feedback and a little kindness. “Paying It Forward”, might just work.