21st Century Business Etiquette

Have you noticed that manners have taken a backseat in the workplace?  This isn’t new but, sadly, is a growing trend.  Companies put a lot of pressure on people to get their jobs done and this can create stress and tension.  People fly by you in the morning on their way to a meeting, without saying hello.  Or, barge into your office or cubicle and expect your immediate attention.  Is this the end of the world?  No.  But wouldn’t it be nice if people were just a little nicer?  

People may rationalize that there just isn’t enough time, but we all know that it only takes a minute to create goodwill.  While having the opportunity to make a greater impact is the main reason people leave their jobs, following close behind is the chance to escape rude co-workers.  

 Here’s our “Take Five” on how to make your workplace a little friendlier: 

1.  Play Nice – It only takes a second to be polite.  Remember the magic word “please”” shouldn’t sound like “Puhleeze”.  People appreciate when you make the extra effort to be nice.  Selfishly, being nice also pays huge dividends.  In this era of needing to work collaboratively, being nice will make people more apt to want to work with you and contribute to your projects.  

 2.  Don’t Make Your Bad Day, Their Bad Day – We all have those days when we’re not feeling 100%.  Whether it’s a cold or personal problem, your bad mood may lead you to take it out on your colleagues in the form of ATTITUDE.  When you find yourself in this situation, let people know that you’re “off” today and that the “real you” will hopefully show up tomorrow.  Apologize when necessary. 

3. Return Calls & Emails – Be responsive to people you work with.  Even if you don’t have the information they’re looking for, acknowledge their communication.  For example, if they are calling for an update and you don’t have one, it’s better to respond “I’ll get back to you tomorrow” than not to respond at all.   

4.  Meetings Rule – It’s important to show up on time and be prepared.  Even if you would rather not be there (see # 5) – you owe it to the other participants to contribute and be attentive.  Bringing your positive attitude to the meeting will inspire others to do the same. Being present is key and that means not glancing at your Blackberry every few minutes.  

5.  Wait Your Turn – How often have you been in a conversation with someone, when a third person walks up and interjects something about an unrelated issue?  Recognizing how annoyed you are when that happens to you, avoid doing that to others.  The same holds true for walking into someone’s office and speaking while they’re in the middle of working.  If you do need to interrupt, then apologize for doing so.  Don’t assume it’s okay to just barge in.  

Keep these practices in mind and you’ll have a real positive affect on your co-workers.  You may not be able to change your entire working environment, but you can make a difference and lead the way. 

Did we miss any in your top five?


About whelanstone

I'm originally from New York - lost my accent when I moved down to Florida - and made San Francisco my home in 1985. I've been recruiting & coaching for 12 years, with the best partner (Fred) you could ask for, and love what I do. When I'm not busy working I write screenplays (haven't sold one yet) and travel - Morocco this past summer was fantastic. Fred and I started this blog because we wanted to share what we've learned along the way. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as we do writing it.
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