All my life I was and I always will be an advocate of people taking initiative, feeling empowered, and showing leadership, but what happens when this empowerment becomes an abuse of power or a means to be dare I say the words Bitchy, brutal, or mean?
The other day, I entered a busy cafe in Amman for a quick cup of coffee before a Toastmaster meeting. The nice waiter at the door asked me if I wanted to sit in the smoking or non-smoking section. I told him I wanted to sit in the non-smoking section and I even chose the biggest table to sit at because it was by the window and it was letting in some sunlight. I told him “I know I’m alone, but I want to sit at the biggest table. Can I?” He laughed and said “Sure the whole place is yours if you want” and we laughed about it.
Later he proceeded to tell me about all the amazing coffees they have, but since I am still on my healthy streak, I cut him off and said please don’t temp me, I’m just going to have a normal cup of American black coffee with no sugar please.
It was all very pleasant, until I heard a woman shouting at another waiter at the far end of the cafe. She said “I have been waiting for my order for 10 minutes. I want to see your manager. ” The waiter apologized for the delay and asked her what her order was, but she said “It’s not my business to tell you what my order is, ask your manager after I complain to him about your terrible service”
After these words, she marched to the cashier and shouted some more, before demanding once again to see the manager. By then, many people around her were silenced by her dramatic episode.
The manager came out of his office and if he apologized to the lady who continued to say “if you cannot handle the load hire more people. ” He apologized yet again and probably gave her some coffee for free just to shut her up.
While sitting at my table, minding my own business, I couldn’t help but wonder if this drama was really necessary, especially since the woman who “was in a hurry “delayed her order another 15 minutes just to voice a complaint.
Being an employee myself , I do like to put myself in other people’s positions. In fact, in the past I was an employee in a service oriented industry. I was in advertizing, and I always found it horrible when a client will would rant and rave or threaten to seek another agency over a typo, or a normal human error that could happen to anyone.
I once even found myself feeling seriously degusted by both a client and the agency I worked at when a small sum was cut out of my paycheck for a minor error. It wasn’t about the money, as the sum was small. However, I seriously believed at the time that clients sometimes forget that they are first and foremost dealing with people, and that those people come to work to make a decent living,.
This incident at the cafe brought those feelings back to me. I found myself thinking there is absolutely no need to lord power over others just by being loud, brutal, and even irrational. Waiters mess up all the time and I am someone who sends back a messed up order. However, I do make sure at all times to do so politely. After all the waiter is an employee, he or she is not anyone’s slave.
However, this need to feel power is not only seen in cafes and agencies, we see it on the road all the time. A common scene in Amman is that of someone shouting at someone else after a car accident. Doing so is a terrible waste of time, as the police do arrive at accident sites and they do resolve those issues peacefully.
Similarly, you see this in hospitals when the patient feels the need to shout at the secretary who is just doing her job, and the aggressiveness follows people online.
I am someone who literally cringes at some of the content posted by some influencers, but the solution to that is simple. Hate the content, simply inflow the influencer. There is no need to write comments or ruin a person’s reputation just to be heard.
Don’t get me wrong, issues do need to be resolved but there is no need to so aggressively or loudly. Power comes in finding solutions. People rise when they work together , and leadership is not about putting others down.
I will always be someone who hates hearing people being mean just to make a point. It really isn’t necessary.
What do you think?
If you like my content follow me on my Facebook page and on Instagram @ @dshalabi_faces