The Death of Common Courtesy, or Encouraging Good Etiquette in Your Staff
You know who they are. They’re the people in the supermarket with their cart blocking the entire aisle while they decide which brand of cereal to buy. Or they’re in a restaurant, talking loudly on their cell phone while you try to enjoy a quiet dinner with friends or family. Maybe it’s the person who finished off the last of the coffee at work and then neglected to brew another pot. They’re people with no sense of common courtesy, and it seems to be a growing epidemic.
Now wait a minute, before you start dismissing this entire article as a mean-spirited tirade in the vein of an Andy Rooney-esque, fist-shaking rant on young people and their lack of manners, take a moment and consider your life. How often are you forced to inconvenience yourself simply because someone else has little to no awareness of how his or her actions are impacting you? If you’re like most people, this probably happens quite a lot.
But of course you’re asking yourself: What can I do about it? Believe it or not, in your role as a manager you can go a long way to encouraging and developing etiquette in your staff, traits they will take with them long after they’ve left your employ. Here is a step-by-step guide to encouraging your staff to be more considerate to one another, fostering a better environment at work and hopefully a slightly more considerate world outside.
1. Identify — Believe it or not, most people who act inconsiderately aren’t willfully doing so. While this isn’t always the case — some people are just jerks — many inconsiderate behaviors are simply the result of ignorance, and the offenders don’t realize that what they’re doing is wrong. As a manager, you’re in the perfect position to point out these behaviors and encourage improved etiquette.
5. Lead by example — This is an often overlooked key. If you want your staff (or neighbors, etc.) to show more consideration, you need to show more consideration to them. Take a look at your own behavior and try to identify times when you have been less-than-considerate. If you have a hard time finding them, ask a friend to point out times when you were rude or showed poor etiquette. Then be mindful of this in the future and try to consider others’ feelings more in the future.
6. Stick to your principles — Don’t compromise when it comes to etiquette. If you feel that someone is in the wrong, don’t let anyone convince you differently. This doesn’t mean instigating World War III over an empty coffee pot, but instead standing your ground. Be strong about what you know is right, and most times others will come around. (Of course, the important flip side of this is being able to admit when you are wrong and apologizing gracefully — don’t worry, it can take lots of practice to get right, just stick with it.)
7. Be consistent — Finally, one of the best ways to create a more considerate workplace is by maintaining consistency. That means if something is wrong when one person does it, it’s wrong when anyone does it, from the loftiest executive to the lowliest part-timer. Maintain a consistent approach when it comes to encouraging consideration and good etiquette, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the great results you get.
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At times using the same approach you would with children can bring around some of these offenders. Instead of pointing out their rude behavior make sure you point out of examples of great behavior especially in front of them. For example you could say "I really apprecaite the fact that Sally made the new pot of coffee. I was late to my meeting and it was great that fresh coffee was ready without having to make a new pot." This way you also get to recognize the staff that are using good manners as well.
This is a helpful article for the majority of cases of poor behavior. However, we need an article on how to handle the most stubborn of employees that do not believe they need to change even when brought to the higher authorities. They are technically competent, but lack all sense of etiquette or respect for others. The only reason they may change is to not be fired and that isn't the goal of addressing their poor behaviors. Any suggestions?
I beleive that people are inundated with so many examples of rude behavior (prime time TV) that they have adopted the sharp tongued approach as "normal and acceptable."
Great article. What ever happened to "thank you" when you make a purchase? We now get "have a good day." Not at all the same as thank you for shopping here.
I concur with the others, it is extremely nice to see something being written about manners, something so much of the world seems to neglect. In my environment, we do a lot of please, thank you, excuse me and on and on. It really does make a difference. Even when you are miffed with someone or something, if you are steeped in good manners as a rule, they will come through.
Thank goodness someone actually wrote about the disappearance of common courtesy in the world today! Thanks to National Seminars
Found this to be the most helpful. I will share with my staff
Good article. We MUST try to encourage civility and good manners in the workplace. So many of these people don't get it ANYWHERE. This is one place where they can. I even find myself watching my language and trying to be more professional.Everyone benefits.
I think one of the most important things a company can do is set expectations for an environment that makes consideration of others a very high priority. It helps to create a more positive work environment and can help in both recruitment and retention of top talent.
You are right on point with this article.
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