Reflection on an Interpersonal Communication Problem (Week 6)



This incident took place during my internship stint at Fairmont, where I worked as a room attendant. On that particular day, I received an impromptu request from my housekeeping manager to set up the guest room according to the guest requirements. Due to the imminent arrival of the guest and other workload I had on hand, I merely listened to the instructions without taking down notes. Hence, I prepared the room to my best ability, thinking that I had remembered all the instructions, but I was wrong.  After I updated the room status to “vacant clean”, my manager returned to inspect the room and found out that it was not prepared based on to her specifications!

It turned out that the number of towels and bottled water replenished were not the correct quantity. The guest also required buckwheat pillows, instead of the usual foam pillows. I felt sorry for this mistake and quickly did the necessary arrangements. Thankfully, this happened before the guest checked-in, and it was part of the operating procedures for all at least one manager to conduct a check for rooms requiring special attention.

Reflecting back, neither had I performed my duties well nor listened effectively to the manager, thus resulting in unfulfilled guest requests. This communication breakdown between the manager and I was partially due to my carelessness and poor memory. While communicating, I hear but did not listen, with the intent to understand completely. Moreover, due to the overwhelming workload on that day, I folded my arms and just said I understood the instructions already, which in fact I just wished the manager left right away so I can focus on cleaning the rooms as quickly as possible. This acted as a constraint and prevented effective two-way communication between the manager and myself.

To conclude, it was undeniable that I caused the problem and I learned to be more aware of my verbal and non-verbal communication cues. In this way, my coworkers will then be more inclined to clarify with me regarding the instructions given. Lastly, my ending question for this post would be: What are some good advice that you would give me, to tackle similar problems from happening again?

Revised 25th February 2017.


7 thoughts on “Reflection on an Interpersonal Communication Problem (Week 6)

  1. This is a very good revised scenario, Jo. But I am surprised that none of your blog group members have commented. If you are in the same group as Karine, who also has no feedback, and Kieman, your group has a serious problem with interpersonal communication within the context of this assignment. Can you let me know what’s happening?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Brad, I am truly sorry for the late comments of my team’s blog posts. Please accept my sincere apologies as I was working on IWSP interviews recently.

      I definitely prioritise CPD module too, and I assure you this will not happen again. Thank you for understanding!



  2. Dear Jo,

    I think that it is really good that you have actually partly identified the cause of the communication breakdown that you have mentioned and it was due to the lack of attention to details. With regards to attention, perhaps it would be good if you could take down notes on rooms that require special attention in terms of its requirements. For example, you can leave a sheet of paper listing the different rooms you are required to clean and label the special rooms in another colour.

    Apart from physically taking down manual notes that might be troublesome during the course of work, you could also try leaving reminders to yourself through different methods, for example cleaning special attention rooms either first or last to make sure that you are aware of its requirements.

    Addressing the communication problem with your manager, maybe it could be slowed down and done in different manner to ensure the information is properly transmitted. After receiving instructions, double-checking might help to confirm the task and ensure accuracy.

    I hope these recommendations help!




    1. Hi Kieman

      Thank you for the comment, I absolutely agree with your advice on double-checking as it is always better to be prudent, to prevent unnecessary mistakes from arising.



  3. Hi Jo,

    Thank you for sharing your personal experience working in the housekeeping department.
    It was very insightful, regarding the intricacies and details of the operations, down to the type of pillow.

    I, too, find it hard to remember every single details or instructions given to me, due to the current job on hand. I would suggest to always have a mini notebook with you to record down any last-minute instructions from the managers or anyone in command, so as to make sure that we do not forget or miss out the details.

    All the best in the coming IWSP!


    Liked by 1 person

  4. **Debrief Reflection**

    Looking back at this experience, I have learned many things from the incident such as being the importance of meticulousness at work. Based on the mini presentation class activity last week by my classmates who shared useful knowledge on an article about managing conflict, the blog comments and advice from my teammates, here are my concluding thoughts on some ways to prevent similar communication problem from happening in the future.

    Firstly, instead of being flustered when receiving instructions, I should have been more patient so that the room can be serviced to the brand’s standards. This is because my mistake could have affected the hotel’s reputation due to unmet guest requirements.

    Secondly, I admit that I am at fault for being complacent. With the advice given by members, Chantel and Kieman, I do agree that keeping a notebook and jotting down notes is a realistic solution to this incident. This is because when there are too many incoming requests from our managers and guests, it is not easy to memorise all the details. Even if there were no writing materials, I should have at least called my manager to double-check the room before updating the room status to ‘vacant clean’.

    Although my manager who was upset with my mistake reprimanded me, I think that this was for my own good. I understand that she only wanted to remind me to be careful next time.

    Thank you for reading.

    Yours sincerely
    Qian Hui (Jo)


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