It is so refreshing to read what has been a core belief of mine for years … that the people in the most mundane and humble of jobs are the true powerhouses in the universe. Guy Kawasaki describes this in detail in The Art of Sucking Down.
I was raised by kind and thoughtful parents who taught me to always treat everyone with respect. So I carried that with me when I entered the corporate world 15 years ago. I would get to know the receptionist, janitors, copy guy, administrative assistants just as well as the Senior VPs and Executive mucky mucks. I would learn about their families and kids, and life situations. I would do whatever I could to help them, and they would always help me when I was in a crunch.
I would always get a bit of glee when I saw a new mid-level manager start at the company and promptly disrespect all of the "lowly" administrative and janitorial staff. I would think to myself "they have no idea who actually makes things work here!" And I would see and hear them get totally frustrated by the lack of cooperation they got at the firm. When you act like this, the higher you climb, the more delighted everyone will be to see you fall. In fact they will do everything they can to ensure you do.
The real secret, that shouldn’t really be a secret, is that we actually ARE ALL THE SAME NO MATTER WHAT OUR JOB TITLE! I say this without a trite bone in my body. When you treat people with love and respect, it comes back around.
By doing so, you may get seated at a table faster at a restaurant or upgrades on a flight to London. But the real benefit is knowing at the end of the day that you are a decent human being.
I used to run a distribution department (fancy term for mailroom) for a large financial firm. I could always tell which employeess would last based on the way they treated my coworkers.
Theones who treated us poorly were always gone within 12 months.
If you treat people the way you want to be treated you will do well. Always remember that person who is working for you could some day be your boss.
Treat people with kindness, you will go far.