The Surly Receptionist
This has got to be a universal experience. I walk into my dentist's office and encounter a gal at the front desk who acted like she would rather be getting a root canal than dealing with patients. Granted, everyone has a bad day every now and then but when 50% of your job is handling the patient sign-in process, those bad days better be few and far between. So, what's the problem? Perhaps this lady was not cut out for 'receptioning'.
Any number of issues may cause an employee to 'misbehave'. But what I am speaking to here is the very essence of how a person is hard-wired. My belief (and more renowned thought leaders than I would agree) is that more often than not, a surly receptionist was simply not vetted for proper job-fit. A properly applied valid and reliable job-fit system (in addition to appropriate experience, education and interviewing) may have helped my dentist to avoid a bad hire.
Our core characteristics do not change much after the age of 18 or so. Behaviors can and will vary by situation but to require an employee to act consistently differently than the way he/she is hard-wired inevitably results in mediocre performance or turnover at the least or damaging customer service and subsequent loss of business at the worst.
Most folks want to thrive in their work. It's basic human nature. Use a valid, reliable, Dept. of Labor-approved assessment for hiring to identify and measure for top performance. It's good for the individual and good for the organization.
And put that surly receptionist in the Collections department. She will love it.