People don’t do what leaders tell them – they do what they SEE

This morning, I ordered a coffee from someone who made no eye contact and waited for the customer to initiate the order.

I watched this go down with the three people ahead of me in line. They stepped up, placed their order with this cashier who looked down with her finger poised above the buttons. As the order was placed, she kept looking down, and spoke only these words: “is that it?” and “three fifty-six” (or whatever the total was).

The other thing I witnessed was this: she had a small problem and had a question for her supervisor. She looked at the feet of the supervisor, sideways, and asked.

The supervisor gave a curt, nearly rude, answer, while looking the other way, doing nothing in particular.


On the way out, I saw a “now hiring” placard that said “Looking for workers to make a day-brightening experience for our customers!!!”

At some point, this woman had surely been told to provide better, more proactive service.

But she didn’t see that from her leader.

People don’t do what we ask them to do.

People do what they see their leader do.

If you’re a leader, what are you showing today?

Related: Modeling Primer

3 Responses

  1. Sally Wilke
    | Reply

    Oh yeah, this one is great for TODAY! Thanks.

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