I realize my first post should probably be a “business post, but on the day we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., my thoughts are rooted in one of my favorite quotes from Dr. King. (Although I did work in a quick business tip).
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
I am struck by both the powerful simplicity of his words, but also by just how far it seems “modern” society has regressed to where we seem to step back to a time before Dr. King where it was ok to look down on (yes, even hate) anyone different than us. You don’t have to go far on Twitter or cable TV to find a talking head spewing vitriol that resonates in their own echo chamber. Yet, Dr. King’s powerful words call us to reexamine ourselves and our motives. While we cannot control the actions of others, the one thing we can control is our reaction to the hate in our society.
One key customer service technique I always coach is how to respond to an angry or yelling customer/client. Put simply, the louder they get, the softer and kinder you get. If you have ever done this it completely deflates the situation as it is hard to have an argument when you are the only one yelling! You remove the energy from the situation. If you respond by raising your own voice, you are off to the races and the anger just increases. Good luck resolving the situation and ensuring you have a happy customer!
The beauty of this approach is it is in complete harmony with Dr. King’s words. Instead of responding with negative emotion (hate) you respond with positive emotion (love). As Dr. King and all the brave men and women of the Civil Rights movement demonstrated, this non-violent approach was able to change hearts and minds.
So, on this day of celebration, let’s focus on responding to our fellow human beings with love, not hate. I think we will find we can make a better world.