[Excerpt] Recently, the lead author took his family to a small, family-oriented water park in upstate New York. During the visit, a boy about 15 years old cut his foot while exiting one of the more popular attractions. His injury was fairly severe and required medical attention. The park staff responded promptly and professionally. First aid was rendered, and the injured guest and his family appeared to be quite satisfied with the care they were given. After the injured guest and his family had left, several employees stayed at the scene and cleaned up the area where the incident took place. As the employees were cleaning the area, they were approached by several park guests who asked what had happened. The employees continued to perform their cleaning duties but took the time to answer the questions that were asked. Their responses were accurate, reassuring, and seemed to satisfy everyone's curiosity. As we left the park, we found the general manager, who was thanking all of the departing guests for coming to the park. We complimented him on his staff and their management of the situation. We explained that his employees appeared to have a firm grasp on the technical skills necessary to perform one of the primary functions of their jobs— adhering to safety and sanitation standards—as well as the ability to manage sensitive interactions with guests. The general manager thanked us, and then, without prompting, told us that he looks for employees who can "do the basics first and then keep a smile on their face when things go wrong."
Tracey, J. B., Sturman, M. C., Shao, L. & Tews, M. J. (2010). The role of personality and general mental ability in predicting performance for new and experienced employees [Electronic version]. Retrieved [insert date], from Cornell University, School of Hospitality Administration site: http://scholarship.sha.cornell.edu/articles/297