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Seeing Yourself, Yikes!
By Gay Lynn Grigas, MA Psy.
Sunday, 27th April 2014

It can be very challenging to see ourselves, some people are willing to take a look while others run the other way;

Seeing yourself clearly is critical for success in all your professional relationships, especially in the hospitality industry.  

At your hotel do you have some co-workers who just defend their arrogant behavior with false bravado?  This can be frustrating and negatively impact the success of your hotel team.  Remember, we cannot change people, but we can change how we respond to people with a bit of our own self-knowledge and advance preparation.  

Joyce was just that type of self-superior colleague that many find annoying, a woman in her late 50’s, finding herself working with multiple generations of co-workers she did not understand while working the front desk.  As a result, when she was around the climate in their back office was emotionally tumultuous. 

One day Joyce was challenged by some of her co-workers about her behavior.  Joyce was a hard worker, efficient, and meticulous.  The problem was she would flip moods so quickly, being pleasant one minute, and triggered by something in the next, then lash out with critical words and hostility toward co-workers and guests. 

Joyce was unpredictably nasty and downright mean to certain guests, both in person and on the phone.  Finally, in desperation her manager sought out training for she and her colleagues on how to manage your triggers in the workplace, and how to avoid triggering others. Joyce was asked to a communications and personality quiz to help her understand some of her strengths and weaknesses. 

Understanding our own emotional ‘‘triggers” can help us take our weaknesses and turn them into strengths and become more conscious of what is happening to us and why.  Having this information creates empowerment, we can prepare ourselves internally by what we say to ourselves.  

Joyce snubbed taking the quiz and proudly declared “I have no flaws.”  Everyone groaned loudly during the training session, as it was obvious that this was her biggest flaw- that she perceived herself as not having any flaws!  The false swagger was obvious.  Yet as she experienced the training that helped her step-out and see herself as others perceive her, it did get her thinking about what she could do to create better relationships.  Joyce’s colleagues were just happy to learn new tools for trigger-proofing themselves against her future negativity. 

Although we can try getting the “Joyce’s” in the hospitality industry to think about how their own actions impact others, we cannot always completely change their behaviors. What we can always change is ourselves and we can protect ourselves from the unconscious “Joyce’s” who refuse to look at themselves and are in deep denial about their flaws and the impact they may have on guests, co-workers, and the hotel team.

How do you do this?  Through a process of continuous self-evaluation.  The better you understand your strengths and weaknesses, the more effective you become at altering your responses to uncomfortable situations. The affect doesn’t stop there.  When you are comfortable within yourself, you are more conscious of others’ comfort levels, and their strengths and weaknesses.  Self-Knowledge leads to knowing others as well.  You can see more clearly!

When you know yourself, you can be true to yourself.  “To thine own self be true” is the positive phrase to keep in mind.  The “Joyce’s” of the world have no power over us, unless we unconsciously give it to them.  Then they have the power to make us miserable just like they are!  

This article is the first in a series to share the “12 Tools To Keep Your Cool and Confidence-Trigger-Proof,” designed to help those of us in the field of hospitality to know ourselves, to see ourselves, see others more clearly, thus helping us take good care of ourselves while taking care of our team and our guests.   

Gay Lynn Grigas, MA Psy is the author of   12 Tools to Keep Your Cool and Confidence

Gay Lynn Grigas, MA Psy. is an accomplished speaker, trainer, and consultant specializing in customer service and stress awareness issues.  She is author of several books including “12 Tools To Keep Your Cool and Confidence-Trigger-Proof.”  Visit   or contact Gay Lynn direct at  She is a member of the Kennedy Training Network.  For training or speaking engagements in the hospitality industry contact

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