January 4, 2012

there is no substitute for good manners

It doesn't matter where you come from, what language you speak or what your cultural background is - good manners will open doors for you. People will connect with you more openly, co-workers will respect you, seniors might just recommend you more often - all because you take the time to show respect to those around you.

Do you consider yourself to be someone with good manners? Or do you tend to shove them to the background when you're in a hurry or a stressful situation? We often justify our own rude behaviour when the pressure is on and "there's no time" to think about being nice. But there is really no excuse to be rude to others, even when you're having a bad day. In fact, showing respect and courtesy towards others when you aren't feeling up to it may just be an opportunity to show your character and build your personal brand (I don't want to be known for being rude when I'm under pressure, do you?)

Obviously this is easier said than done. We all grew up in different settings, with different parenting styles and values, and ways to show respect may differ entirely between different cultures. So here are a few things you can do to improve how you show respect to others at work:
  • Working in a multicultural environment will give you wonderful exposure to people from other cultures and backgrounds. Once you get to know people who are different it becomes easy to value and acknowledge them, and you can see the unique contribution they bring to the workplace more clearly.
  • Think about how you would like to be treated. If you would appreciate someone holding the door for you, why not try doing the same for others. Placing yourself in someone else's shoes is what drives acts of kindness, and your ability to do so will strengthen your relationships at work.
  • Check your ego at the door. When you walk into your office, make an effort to view yourself and your co-workers as equals. Treating all groups with the same amount of respect says a lot about your character and is sure to leave a positive lasting impression with others.

Forget about the rat-race and getting to the top for just a moment and think about how you are getting there. Reaching your goals and getting that promotion is bound to be much more satisfying if you didn't get there by stepping on others.

Have a look at these posts on Why Manners Matter at Work, Good Manners in the Office and Why Good Manners Mean Less Work for Everyone.

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