JetBlue flight attendant, Steve Slater was fed up. He couldn’t contain his anger any longer and allowed a rude customer to enrage him to the point that he quit his job, but on the way out, he verbally displayed his anger, took some items from his place of employment, and left in an unorthodox way (as if his tactics for quitting weren’t unorthodox enough). Was there a better way to handle the situation? Yes! Here are four ways to handle a difficult person:
• Call for assistance.
The passenger clearly did not want to regard the rules of airline safety and Steve needed some additional help in getting his point across. He should have tried to call a fellow flight attendant to assist him with the difficult passenger. This would have provided Steve with backup from other co-workers, which would have relieved a level of stress because he would not have been the “lone ranger” in the incident.
• Think before you react.
Perhaps Steve really wanted to quit his job and this was a good time for him to do so. Now, what about the consequences? He has criminal charges pending, his professional reputation is scarred, and he is out of a job. If Steve had taken a moment or two to rethink his reaction he may still be employed.
• Remain professional.
Was it necessary for Steve to release his anger on the intercom system? What did other passengers think of his tirade? Maintaining a professional image means remaining tactful, cordial, and respectful to others. Releasing anger is therapeutic and relieves stress, there are other ways to effectively release anger such exercise or venting to a friend or yourself.
• Report the person and the problem immediately.
Steve already had a tough time in getting the passenger to comply with his requests, the insult to injury was literal; Steve was hit in the head by the passenger’s luggage. This incident should have been immediately reported to authorities and the problem and the passenger would have been dealt with accordingly.
Dealing with difficult people is a skill that requires patience, each situation means your reputation, career, and sanity are on the line. If the situation is beyond your control, seek help immediately before you have regrets later.
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