I've hit an interesting challenge just of late.
On Friday afternoon I did some staff training on "an attitude of service". It deals with having a servant's heart with dignity and pride. However, I was concerned with some of the feedback - this one in particular.
One of our (black) trainee staff members reported that whilst carrying out a service in a public place, an unknown person (white) who was watching him then asked him what he was doing. My staff member was offended because this person failed to greet him properly first before asking the question.
Now I have not received a complaint from the public about this - my staff member volunteered the information (for which I am grateful). However, it raises a whole host of points which I feel need to be resolved.
You see, in my service life, I've been asked the same question numerous times (without prior greeting) and have been quite happy that someone has taken interest in what I am doing. I have certainly not been overly concerned that this person has not "properly introduced themselves" first. Furthermore, I'm not sure that as service personnel we have the right to demand it.
In fact I hold the opposite view. In our business lives we should be respectful of the protocols of our client! Or potential client. And my training has been in that direction.
I think the potential/actual clashes between our diverse SA cultures need to be discussed and resolved.
Or are we going to train our World Cup 2010 visitors that before they ask for directions, they must properly greet the person at the information booth first?