Steps to Management Success – Step 99: Learn the Janitor’s Name

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 8th, 2010


Learn the Janitor’s Name

There are a whole bunch of people working below the radar in your workplace or as a part of your workday. The janitor. The UPS or FedEx guy. The woman who takes your order at Starbucks. The cleaning-crew lady who empties your wastebasket—and whom you see only when you’re pulling a late-nighter.

WHAT IT MEANS: All of those people have names, and learning and using them, along with a greeting and a smile, might mean more than you think—and not just to them. Most people seldom acknowledge these “shadow workers,” so simply by doing so, you’re probably making a positive impression. Besides, you don’t have to know someone all that well to add him or her to your personal network. Everybody has his or her own circle of friends, family, and associates, and you never know where it could lead. Maybe it could help you sell your car or your basketball tickets or lead to an interesting conversation . . . or maybe not. Nevertheless, when it comes to extending your network, there’s no need to be snobbish. Everyone counts! Being outgoing and inclusive in this way probably will seem awkward and weird at first, but you’ll get used to it—and it’s a very positive and attractive trait to develop.

ACTION PLAN: Introduce yourself to a few people in your company (or whom you come across in your workday). Try to greet them by name—and with a smile—whenever you see them.

EVEN BETTER: Recognition is good, but appreciation is even better. If you can offer someone a genuine compliment for a job well done, offer it. If it’s appropriate to give a holiday-season gift or tip to someone, consider giving it. No matter how you do it, enabling someone to feel more valued, appreciated, or connected is its own reward.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

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