I’m Sorry!

That phrase, “I’m Sorry!” is not said enough.

Scenario #1

You are waiting for your coffee; there are people ahead of you and only one barista. The barista finally hands you your coffee after 4 minutes (having worked at a coffee shop for many years your drink should be done in 90 seconds) but that’s fine, 4 minutes it is. The barista says your name, and hands you the drink with no eye contact. Well now you are upset that no one said sorry for the wait and now you are contemplating if you’ll ever go back to that place.

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Scenario #2

You are waiting for your coffee; there are people ahead of you and only one barista. While the barista is making a drink he looks up and says, I am going to work as fast as I can, but it will be a little wait, I’m sorry about that. You are instantly ok with waiting. Your drink is ready, the barista knows you are there (cuz he already acknowledged you), he hands your drink and says, ‘thank you for waiting patiently, and again I’m sorry about that. I really hope this didn’t ruin your day.’ (he threw in a little joke to lighten the situation) It made you laugh and you are walking away with a smile on your face and going to talk about this place in a positive way to all of your friends.

barista

Why don’t people want to say sorry?

– We don’t like to own up to mistakes and we don’t like to be wrong. But it ultimately comes down to pride. It’s a vulnerable thing to admit when you are wrong. When a toddler hits their younger sibling, the parents don’t disown the toddler; you discipline, make sure they know they did something wrong, they apologize, and learn from their mistakes. Toddlers shouldn’t be the only ones saying sorry. We need to make sure we still say sorry, learn from our mistakes and grow.

People working in customer service deal with having to apologize all day long. They (personally) didn’t do anything wrong, but because of their job, they take ownership of where they work and create solutions for their customers.

Create Solutions! Say Sorry! Acknowledge People!

Here are a few phrases we need to add to our vocabulary:

-I’m sorry I messed up.

-Thank you for waiting.

-Thank you for being patient.

-I see you and will work as fast as I can to get you on your way.

-Welcome to…

-Hello

-Goodbye

-Is there anything I can get you?

-Do you need anything?

Be someone who says sorry, who acknowledges other people. Be someone who possesses compassion.

Why Great Customer Service is Crucial!

“How may I serve you?”

Doesn’t that phrase just make you happy? I hope that all of you have had the pleasure of experiencing the incredible customer service at Chick-fil-a. Every employee that works there has to go through intense customer service training, and their main focus in the training is having everyone understand that serving is what makes them different and stand out. It’s no wonder that they out perform KFC and still can close their doors one day a week.

Let me list a few reasons why you should consider training your staff to be amazing at customer service.

  1. Your employees will have purpose
    • Remind your employees of the why! Why are they coming to work each day? What impact are they making? This is a great tool to give to your people daily. You will have less burn out and give your employees purpose and drive to be great at what they do.
  2. Your customers will be happy and return
    • I walked into DSW today and within 30 seconds I was greeted with a hello and welcome. They saw me, and noticed me. I also like getting acknowledgement when I go to the gym. We want to be noticed. Make sure your staff is noticing your customers fast, that they have a big smile on their face, and that they are in the moment and not thinking about how badly they want to be done with their shift.

      People don’t follow companies, they follow brands, they follow experiences, and they always remember the way you made them feel. -Dale Partridge

  3. Your employees and customers will be your best referrals
    • To build followers you need to make sure you are creating a positive experience. The way that my husband makes others feel is truly a reflection of the type of servant leader that he is. He could be talking to a client, employee, friend or family member and he always makes sure to have that personal connection!
    • Connecting, serving and caring will make people come back and want more. When you elevate others and serve them, they feel it, and will be your biggest referrals! 
  4. Your focus will be on people and not profit (thank you Dale Partridge – read ‘People Over Profit’)
    • I’m reading the book ‘People Over Profit’ by Dale Partridge and ‘Dare to Serve’ by Cheryl Bachelder; both books have amazing tools in how to focus on people and not the profit. You know when that shoe salesman comes up to you and all they see are dollar signs. But there is a huge difference when a salesman comes up to me and starts asking questions instead of telling me about their product.
    • Get to know your people. Think about what’s best for them and not what’s best for you. People can easily sniff out the used car salesman. 
  5. You will have better sleep
    • When your team is trained well, when they know their purpose, and when they like coming to work…you can sleep easy. Putting time and effort into training your staff will help with your stress level, you will have less burn out, and your customers will be happier. You will find that focusing on others instead of yourself was the key all along.

The key to a fruitful life is finding ways to serve others daily. -Nikki Udicki

The Top 5 Qualities in a Great Leader

The Top 5 Qualities in a Leader!

Think of an incredible leader that you have had, or have, in your life. What qualities do they possess?

The great leaders in my life were always honest, humble, secure and had the ability to laugh at themselves.

I want to give you the top 5 qualities that all great leaders NEED to possess!

Trust
This may seem like a no brainer to have this quality, but it is absolutely crucial that you are a leader who is trustworthy. Make your yes, yes and your no, no. People become dishonest when it’s inconvenient and when they want to cover themselves or something up. Simon Sinek says “If you’re not consistent in the things you say and do, no one will know what you believe” (and I’ll add, no one will know who you really are.)
Other words related to trust are: respect, integrity, and honesty.

Compassion
Make sure you actually care about the people you lead. Managers have a hard time putting themselves in other peoples shoes, so as a leader you need to make sure you have perspective and view things the way that others are experiencing it. Go and talk to your employees, see what it’s like to do their work every once in a while!
Other words related to compassion are: caring, loving and happy

Stability
People need leaders who provide a solid foundation and know what they value. During times of stress and chaos are you even keeled and stable or do you break down? Be a problem solver and a solutions maker!
Other words related to stability are: security, strength, support and peace.

Confidence
A great leader is confident and provides clear direction. You want to follow someone who is confident in their plan and humble in knowing that their plan may need tweaking. I am confident in my hair stylist because she doesn’t question herself with every hair that she cuts (that would just be exhausting!) She goes in there confident but at the same time asks questions if I’m liking what she is doing!
Other words related to confidence are: direction, guidance and faith.

Service
A great leader is someone who serves others well. To serve is taking the focus off of yourself and onto others. Think of the last time you had incredible service, and how did that make you feel? People remember the way you made them feel. How you serve others is a direct reflection of the type of leader you are!

Becoming a great leader takes time and work. Do inventory on yourself to see where you are lacking, and change.

“How you make your employees feel about themselves says a lot about your business.” -Dale Partridge

Go and be great!!

Smell the Bread!

A baker said to me recently: “I’ve lost the romance and can’t smell bread anymore.”

That is my worst nightmare! I am so glad I can smell freshly baked bread, even though I shouldn’t eat it as much.

Let’s analyze why this baker made that comment.

  1. He didn’t want to sound crazy by telling me his true feelings about bread, so he underplayed it.
  2. He has simply lost sight of how amazing bread is because of his daily dealings with it.
  3. His only motivation for making bread is to make money and pay his bills.
  4. He was having an off day and still has a fondness for bread.

Whatever his reason behind his bread comment, it got me thinking about why we lose who you are or why we hold back. 

Hesitation and fear. You can also call it procrastination. But when you let hesitation and fear make the decisions in your life, than each day you are becoming less and less of you.

  • We hesitate in telling our spouse that they are cute, funny or smart, out of fear that they may not receive it well or that they don’t think the same about you.
  • We hesitate in speaking up in meetings because we have a fear that our idea is stupid or not in line with what they are really asking.
  • We hesitate in paying our bills on time because what if we are short on money and we haven’t created a plan for where our money goes (I could really go on and on with this point because I am a major Dave Ramsey advocate). Quick quote: Don’t let your money run you, you run it!
  • We hesitate in sharing our goals and dreams, because others may not understand.
  • We hesitate in getting healthy, out of fear that we may fail and that we may have to be kept accountable.
  • We hesitate in putting others first, out of fear that we won’t get it in return.

A lot of fear and hesitation keeps us from being incredible people!

What if the baker said this instead, “To deal with bread everyday is the most wonderful thing in the world! Not only does it smell good and taste great, it brings people together! The act of breaking bread is my favorite thing in the world!!!” 

I would then say, “I”m sold! I will buy all the bread that you have!”

I also believe we hesitate in sharing our true selves because we will get opposition.

THAT’S OK!! Not everyone likes bread. I have family members that have actually said, “I don’t get the big deal with bread.”

I often hesitate in sharing the things that I love out of fear that I will fail, that people will make fun of me, not understand, and that it may sound stupid. But here it is:

I love to serve others! I love to connect with people and help them see their gifts and talents! I want people to wake up every day and chose to serve others, remind themselves daily of the things that they love, and go after it. 

Being vulnerable is hard. But when you align yourself with God’s will for your life and how He created you, then you can be confident in your daily decisions! Each day wake up and align yourself with Him! You will mess up, but don’t stay there, just make it apart of your dance and learn from it.

Fight hesitation and fear by remembering who you are and why you were created!

Great Leaders bestow Grace and Truth!

Recall the last time that you gave!

Well Nikki,

  • I gave the driver on the road a piece of my mind!
  • I gave a mean look to the lady with all of her kids going crazy at the grocery store and made sure she felt even more alone.
  • I gave my husband a guilt trip when he said he had to work late, even though I know he works so hard for the family.
  • I gave my employee a hard time about not meeting the deadline, even though they are swamped and made every other deadline.
  • I gave myself a big pat on the back for not being like everyone else and having my stuff together!

Every single day we are faced with opportunities to give, opportunities to be selfless, and opportunities to show others they care and matter. Our first knee-jerk reaction is to make sure that we are the first in line, that no one cuts me off, that people get the judgment they deserve, and that leading in fear and guilt is the way to improve our respect.

When people are given grace and truth they are happier and more productive. These two have to be paired with one another because if you have a leader that is all grace, then no one can do wrong and everyone deserves a second, third, forth, fifth chance. And a leader that is only truth can be taken as someone who gives harsh critique and gives their people anxiety every time they encounter that leader. So to be a dynamic and great leader you need to bestow grace and truth!

Grace: undeserved favor; an attractively polite manner of behaving; courteous goodwill.(Webster dictionary)

Truth: that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality; a fact. (Webster dictionary)

  • I recently heard a story about this young girl who had been in an accident and had major burns on her face. She was beginning to heal, but the burns were still noticeable and wouldn’t go away. This young girl and her mother decided to get out of the house and go to the mall. You can imagine that her mother was very protective of her daughter, but knew that this was their new reality so she had to face other people. They went from shop to shop and people would stop and stare but eventually move on. They found themselves at the food court and had some ice cream. While they were sitting there people would walk by, glance over and keep going. This one older man sat down, close to them, looked up and saw the young girl. He stared (like most people), but didn’t look away. He kept staring and staring to the point where it was making another bystander uncomfortable and almost told him to stop. The older man interrupted them and said to the young girl, “I am so sorry for staring, but you have the most beautiful eyes.” After that the three of them started talking and ended up laughing and having a great time. I believe that this man portrayed grace and truth!

We see peoples marks so much faster than we see their beauty. img_1393

My challenge for you, as a leader and as a person, is to live your life with grace and truth. I know that people who error on the side of grace might be thinking, “I rock at this,” when you may need to show more truth and honesty. And those who error on the side of truth may think, “I’m not harsh with my words, people are just too sensitive,” and that might be the case sometimes, but reflect on your tone and purpose when you become critical. “The way truth is said is just as important as truth itself!” -Al Lopus

Some people may need to hear that they mess up, and some may need to hear that they rock. Just remember that with both statements, come at it honestly and graciously!

When there is both grace and truth, then you have the recipe for a safe, inviting, efficient, and a caring workplace! Recognize those situations where you may be heavier on the grace or heavier on the truth, and shift your words and actions.

Christ is the ultimate example of a servant leader. Follow in His footsteps.

John 1:14″And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

How to be an AWESOME leader that people want to follow

  1. Lead by example
    • Actually do what you ask others to do.
    • “Leading is not the same as being the leader. Leading, however, means that others willingly follow you – not because they have to, not because they are paid to, but because they want to.” -Simon Sinek
  2. Be nice
    • We live in a very sarcastic world. Sarcasm (not always, but often), is used when someone doesn’t want to be vulnerable and show their kindness. But when you choose to be kind to someone instead of being sarcastic (even though you’re just kidding) it produces a safer environment.
    • Don’t be afraid of being nice, that doesn’t mean you’re weak.
  3. Be honest
    • I’m talking to those who have a hard time confronting. If my husband and I were afraid of hurting the other persons feelings, than it would amount to us being fake with one another.
    • You need to know how to call others out when they mess up, and when they are being awesome.
    • Make sure you have continual expectation alignment!
  4. Care
    • Know your people and give them your time.
    • When a leader shows that they care, they are communicating to their people that they matter and are important!
    • People need leaders who know them, care for them, and speak truth to them.
  5. Keep Learning
    • Podcasts rock (Dale Partridge StartupCamp, Seth Godin, Christy Wright, Dave Ramsey)
    • Read books and blogs (Jim Collins, Ken Blanchard, John Townsend, Dale Partridge, Seth Godin, Simon Sinek)
    • Ask others how they lead (Go to lunch and meet with others with the intention of asking them questions. Try not to be the one talking the whole time.)

Use these tools to improve your leadership skills and continue to rock at leading!

“The true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own. Great leaders truly care about those they are privileged to lead and understand that the true cost of the leadership privilege comes at the expense of self-interest.” -Simon Sinek

GingerSnap Here!

7 Things You Should Know About GingerSnap

1. I am here to serve you! Now this is a bold statement because I don’t know everyone’s love language and how you specifically need to be served at this moment, but my goal is to share what I have learned about Servant Leadership and saturate your mind with amazing ideas on how to serve your co-workers, family, friends, and others daily!

2. Youth Ministry and Retirement Communities have a lot of similarities! I worked in Youth Ministry for about 9 years and then at a Retirement Community after that. You may hear some of my stories on this here blog.

3. Ireland has my heart! I am a red head, and as a red head I thought, what other country would I fit in really well? Ireland was that country! I served over there for two years and absolutely loved it, even though I had an appendicitis while I was there, I grew a lot, met the best people, and loved on our community of Westport (google it right now, it’s super cute).

4. I love coffee! Super cliche, but I really do, and I’ve started to really like bulletproof coffee!!

5. Quotes anyone? I have found that I really love filling my mind with things that are true, encouraging, and motivating. Expect a lot of quotes from whatever I am reading that week.

6. GingerSnap is here to ignite your staff to be AWESOME! When I see staff that are underappreciated, not feeling motivated, and not living up to their potential, I want to get in there and say, “HEY! You’re AWESOME, and I want to tell you why that’s true!”

7. Servant Leadership. This term, servant leadership, is what I promote, care about, and love to talk about. The act of being an excellent leader while serving others should be the way of all leaders. This does not mean that leaders should be push overs, or that they should lead by intimidation, but lead with integrity, strength, and servanthood!

My goal for this blog is to provide you with the right motivation, tools and skills to be excellent leaders!

“If serving is below you, leadership is beyond you.” -anonymous

Read more at:www.gingersnaptraining.com