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Combating Trickle-Down Frustration

You may have seen or heard about a TV sitcom called The IT Crowd. It was a British comedy series which centered on the lives of two IT (Information Technology) guys and their boss who really doesn’t know all that much about IT. They work for what is presumably a large communications company of one sort or another (no one really knows what the company does) and the laughs are generated by the disparate interactions of the guys with their boss, from their antics with other employees (“Have you tried turning it off and back on again?”), and from their stereotypically inept social endeavors. While there are some hard and fast truths to be gleaned from this comedic representation of the IT world (powering on/off really does work a lot of times), we like to handle things a little differently here at Hodges-Mace as far as employee interactions are concerned.

The Woes of Trickle-Down Economics

When your technology doesn’t work for you it inevitably is working against you, negatively affecting your productivity and even inhibiting your collaborative efforts. In these situations, you might wish for a knight in shining armor to arrive; someone who can cudgel your equipment into tiny spark-ridden pieces and then ride off with you into the sunset, or at least into the weekend. What you really need, though, is someone with the knowledge and skill to fix your problem so you can get back to being productive. And what you really, really need is someone who can do this without making you feel like an idiot for not figuring it out yourself. Why? Trickle-down economics. Let me explain.

We all know how trickle-down economics is supposed to work but you may not realize that the underlying principle can be applied in other contexts. The idea here is that a frustrated employee is going to trickle that frustration, whether consciously or not, down into all of his or her interactions. Eventually it reaches a stress-induced manageable level where they can do their job with relatively little showing of how they actually feel. Over time, this not only fatigues the employee by making it harder, and in some cases more dangerous, to unwind after work, but it also negatively affects their personal brand in the eyes of their coworkers and clients. As we say here at Hodges-Mace, the employee’s brand is what makes the company’s brand great and if the employee’s brand is communicating frustration then that frustration trickles down into the company brand. This is why establishing and maintaining a positive internal company culture is vital to an employee’s successfulness and, ultimately, to creating positive external experiences for clients.

A Good Attitude Goes A Long Way

As someone who works in IT, and specifically as someone who does a fair amount of problem solving for my fellow coworkers, I try to make all of my interactions a positive experience. I know very well how frustrating it is when technology doesn’t work. Your phone doesn’t have a dial tone and you’ve tried “everything”? Well, all I did was plug it back in to the outlet under your desk. But, unlike the fellows in The IT Crowd, I don’t need to make you feel foolish about it; it isn’t helpful for me to contribute annoyance to your frustration. So I make the comment that you aren’t the only one this happens to and that it even happens to me. I’ve fixed this problem a thousand times before and will happily fix it thousands more because I want you to enjoy my company and my Company.

The takeaway? Be cheerful and sincere about easy, seemingly self-evident, solutions and cheerfully dedicated to resolving the more difficult issues. Here is another opportunity to put into practice one of our other core values by creating awesome experiences. Not only does your attitude affect those around you but how you speak to them and even the words you use can have a positive or negative influence. The goal is to turn a frustrating situation into a fantastical one, or at least into one that isn’t going to negatively affect the rest of someone’s day.


Hodges-Mace, an Alight company Main Office

5775-E Glenridge Drive, Suite 500 Atlanta, GA 30328

(404) 574-6110