I was recently on a Southwest Airlines flight and saw a remarkable incident. In the row in front of me, seated in the aisle seat, was a man who apparently wasn’t having a great day. He complained that Southwest didn’t have blankets or pillows. He complained that the flight had been delayed. He was not happy that his suitcase (the size of a steamer trunk) didn’t fit in the overhead bin and had to be checked. I’m not sure what else – but he had a list of things he was not happy about.
As the flight attendant came through the cabin closing the overhead bins he took aim and fired. This attendant couldn’t have handled the situation any better. She smiled and never stopped smiling. She answered the questions as positively and firmly as possible, never losing her pleasant smile. She didn’t have an answer but she promised to find out. She apologized reassured him the short delay would be made up in flight. We would reach our destination on time.
She had been attacked and she handled it with grace and charm. Then she continued to assist others without losing that smile or positive attitude. A few minutes later she returned to check on the obstinate fellow. She gave him the answers as promised apologized for any inconveniences.
She displayed an important aspect of leadership. You must first be able to lead yourself before you can lead others. She’d mastered herself. In the face of conflict and confrontation she remained unflappable. Her grace, charm and lovely smile showed her self-assurance and professionalism. With self-control and self-mastery, she not only handled a delicate situation, but gave everyone who witnessed the encounter a great lesson in leadership.
Points to Ponder –
Think about the last conflict you were in, what could you have done differently to handle the situation better?
Remember when someone wasn’t handling a situation as well as it could have been handled. What would you have done differently? How could you have changed the outcome?