One of my household employees rarely expresses gratitude when receiving presents. We observed this trend of behaviour over a long enough period of time. We built a strong perception of his manners and behaviour based on this trend. At least, we gave him the benefit of doubt that his lack of expression of gratitude may not necessarily mean that he is not grateful. It could well be that he is simply not expressing his feelings.
Nonetheless, we felt that this practice was not good for him. We were afraid that others might be offended by him if he continues behaving that way. Even though we did not mind him not thanking us when we give him presents, we did worry about the imagination of him doing this to other people. We were also afraid that to some degree, this could wrongly be viewed as a reflection of our attitude. Basically, we minded and cared about how other people would view him.
And so, we tried to help him to change his manners when receiving gifts and presents. Recently, when he kept quiet after receiving a significant present, I turned back to him after about an hour and gave him soft but candid feedback. Given that he is a strong Christian, I approached him from the Christian angle, stating how words of gratitude bless the giver to have more and then give again in the future. He felt so touched and regretted his past manners.
We were surprised the next day when we found an envelope containing a letter addressed to us. The one paged letter expressed deep gratitude for all the good things he has enjoyed while working for us. The letter was not only wrapped in a good envelop, but it was also printed using an electronic printer â€“ he must have gone to an Internet cafÃ© or printing bureau and paid his money to have his letter printed professionally. Some of you probably think that he overdid the expression of gratitude and you are correct. In fact, that is the essence of this article. When a bad perception has been created of you, you must â€˜overworkâ€™ to erase the bad perception. You need an â€˜overkillâ€™ of performance to make up for a bad reputation.
A lot of us find ourselves in situations at work where some negative and often wrong perception of ourselves is created. The majority are not aware of such bad perceptions even when the bad perception propagates past us from person to person around the company or organisation. Even when we come to know about such negative and often wrong perceptions, we do very little or nothing at all to correct the negative or wrong perceptions. Very few people plan carefully and invest in ensuring that they turn around the bad and negative perceptions. In fact, it is rare that in the work place, people will do what our home security guard did, to carefully develop and execute a plan that can completely turn around a bad and negative perception that others have of us.
Inspired by the story of our household employee, I hope that many will learn to invest their time, thought and effort into turning around any negative perceptions that people may hold about you. Good luck!