I work for a service sector company, and with the recession in place, we began looking for ways to hold on to our customer base during these hard times. A committee of corporate and field management was assembled and we began looking at ways to improve our process and training to enhance the skills of our service teams.
During one of the meetings, we began laying out objectives for the training, and one of our Regional Managers suggested that many of our Service Management personnel could use Anger Management. Half of the group looked at the Regional Manager as if he was crazy, but after he explained his position the rest of the group agreed. So I committed to researching curriculum for the subject.
Of course I found so many references to Anderson and Anderson when I began researching on the internet that I naturally gravitated toward this curriculum and took the steps to get certified.
I have since been facilitating a four-hour introduction of Anger Management to our Service Management team to the amount of about 40 participants per month. We have them take the short version of the Conover Assessment the day before, then we go through the book using an outline that builds in discussions and interactive exercises.
When my guys hear that they are going to learn about Anger Management, they usually snicker and joke and say they don’t need it. But almost invariably, it becomes one of the most well received portions of our class. Almost every one tells me afterward that they enjoyed the segment and that they found something they could use. Many of the participants have even said that the introspection created by the course is somewhat invigorating.
I think one thing that resonates with the class is that there is something for everyone, even if a particular participant does not believe he or she has an anger problem. All of our managers work under pressure, so the stress management portion is relevant to each of them. And because we communicate with our customers, bosses, and employees everyday, the segment on assertive communication is very helpful.
Probably the most important part of the class for all of our guys is the segment on emotional intelligence. We have taught our people for years that we need to empathize with our customers when they are upset. However, saying “I understand…” has become so systematic with our folks that the sincerity has been lost. So reinforcing that we need to truly try to put ourselves in the customer’s place and read their body language, as well as listen to their words, is extremely useful in the real world. To drive the point home, we go through the exercise of showing 4 silent video clips provided by Anderson & Anderson, and ask the class to explain what they think is happening in each scenario. It is pleasantly surprising to see how often they get it right, just by reading body language and watching facial expressions. I believe that this is one of the most powerful exercises in the class.
As for results, I recently met with the General Manager of one of our branches and he gave me some very positive feedback from the Service Management classes. And one of the things he specified was that a particular District Manager of his definitely benefitted from the Anger Management segment. He had seen results almost immediately upon his return.
I think there are people in the workforce that don’t know that the way they act is simply inappropriate. By making them aware of the dangers of out of control anger and the perceptions of others, it helps them see themselves in a different light.
If you would like a copy of the outline we use, I can send it to you, or George Anderson also has an electronic copy of it. If you would like further discussions on corporate training of this subject, please respond to this posting.
Sales and Service Training Manager