If there is truth to the saying that there is no such thing as a stupid question, why do so many of us feel the opposite in our jobs and prefer the murk of unknowing to the risk of asking and perhaps being exposed as a fraud? The question prompts two thoughts in me. The first is if you have represented yourself honestly through the hiring process, you should never fear being “exposed as a fraud.” It is the second thought, however, that constitutes the crux of this article.
It is a simple thought and it goes like this: As opposed to undermining intelligence, the process of asking questions is the essence of intelligence. The Ancient Greeks knew that knowledge comes from two sources. The first is Rationalism or knowledge that arises through experience. For House Managers, this is the knowledge that comes from working in their field or related fields as well as the information garnered by taking professional development courses. This kind of knowledge is usually what is determined during the job interview process and, so long as you are truthful and do not succumb to the current vogue for over-embellishment or out-and-out lying, you will have no problems here.
The second source of knowledge according to the Ancient Greeks comes from Empiricism or the asking and answering of questions. Asking questions, from the Ancient Greeks to today, is a noble practice. It does not suggest someone is in over their head. It confirms the very opposite. It separates the incurious from the curious and those who “wing it” from those who proceed through due diligence and asking thoughtful questions. For me, the act of asking separates the intelligent from, to be blunt about it, the less than intelligent. Who would you rather have on staff?
Take, for example, this stunning bathtub made from a single, solid log. I do not know about you, but to be honest I have no definite idea how it should be cleaned and maintained. Sure I can “wing it” (there’s that expression again), make my most “rational” guess (an oxymoron) and potentially risk damaging or, God forbid, ruining this magnificent piece of work. I do know if I ad-lib and get it wrong, I will have a very angry employer demanding some kind of explanation from me.
Why not simply ask the question instead? Approach the crafts-person who made the bathtub or the company from which it was purchased and simply ask:
1. How do I clean it?
2. How are difficult to remove stains like soap scum removed?
3. How is the tub maintained and how frequently should it be maintained?
4. Is there anything else I need to know about this item?
5. Who do I call if I notice anything wrong?
As House Manager, the next step is to train your staff. Include everyone in the process. Make sure that they understand every step to its cleaning and maintenance, every product required and the frequency of treatment.
Finally, there is the matter of curiosity itself. All good House Managers are curious people. They read books, magazines and newspapers. They go to museums and art galleries. They stay on top of trends in food, design, professional development and important subjects like changes to labour laws or new methods for motivating their staff. For the curious, the work of self improvement never ends. For the truly curious, it is not even work.
Article written by Scott Munden who is the founder of Portico Staffing. Private service professionals can learn more about Portico Staffing by visiting their website >>> https://www.porticostaff.com
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