By Mrinmoy Bhowmick:
At your workplace, remember, to treat others the way you want to be treated!
It is often said that ‘one’s behaviour is the mirror to one’s character’. Indeed, your behaviour speaks a lot about the kind of person you are. Our educational degrees will hold little importance if we are not a well mannered person. In business, as in life, the golden rule is the key: ‘Treat other people the way you want to be treated’. Improved interactions free up energy and time for focusing on work, rather than office politics. But behavioural etiquette is something which cannot be forced on anyone, it has to be cultivated and nurtured within oneself.
So, how important is our behaviour at our workplaces? Poor etiquette and workplace impoliteness leads to declines in two things. Firstly, it is the ‘Efficiency’. When employees experience discourteousness or lack of respect in the workplace, they lose time they would otherwise spend working to worrying about interactions with rude employees. In a recent CNN Money article, UNC management professor Christine Pearson explained that discourteousness stops people from performing beyond expectations and causes employees to “take out their frustration on the organization, not the instigator.”
Secondly it is about ‘Employee Retention’. When employees feel that co-workers’ behaviour is impolite or rude, they sometimes consider taking a job elsewhere. According to the UNC survey, 45 percent of those who experienced rude behaviour in the workplace contemplated changing jobs, while 12 percent actually took the leap and moved on to another company. Employees who have experienced rudeness in the workplace are less devoted and more likely to misuse time worrying about war of words, but the effects of poor etiquette also extend to interactions with clients and outside business associates. P.M. Forni, a Johns Hopkins University professor and cofounder of the school’s Civility Project, explains, “Good etiquette not only retains good employees, but it attracts new ones as well.”
Many people are at a loss for where to start improving etiquette. However, remembering a few basic principles and applying them wherever required can undoubtedly be helpful & could transform your professionalism towards your co-workers.
1. Getting Started: First impressions are important! Remember, you are the ambassador/s of the business. It is important to always act with honesty and dignity.
2. Show Appreciation: The essence of good manners and etiquette is to be respectful and courteous at all times and with everybody. Therefore, treat your co workers, cleaners, maintenance people and others with respect and courtesy. Show appreciation for the slightest courtesies extended to you. Show consideration for other people’s feelings. Office etiquette means being thoughtful when interacting with your peers. Apologize if you are clearly in the wrong. If in doubt, apologize anyway. It is no big deal. Never blame someone else if it is your mistake. Take responsibility for your mistakes, apologize, and go about correcting the mistakes.
3. Learn to Co-operate: Be helpful and co-operative with each other. Keep your interruptions of others to a minimum and always apologize if your intrusion is an interruption of a discussion, someone’s concentration or other activity. Never be petty or small minded in your behaviour. Be discreet and compassionate in your criticism of a co-worker
4. Watch your Manners: Speak clearly without shouting. Loud people are a vexation. Chewing gum and popping bubble gum in the presence of co-workers is neither cool nor dignified. In fact never do it whilst attending customers. Do not cough or sneeze in anyone’s direction. Use a tissue, if possible, to contain the germs and then say “Excuse me“. Good office etiquette is easily achieved by using common courtesy as a matter of course. Show respect for each other’s workspace. Knock before entering. Say, “Please; Thank you; you’re welcome”, as part of your everyday courtesy.
5. Respect your Elders: Always be particularly respectful to those older than yourself even if they are junior to you in position. Your elders are generally more mature in judgment and life’s experiences and this deserves your respect even in the workplace.
6. Handling Calls & Emails: ‘Mute’ your cell phone in the office. No fancy ring tones. One place is in common interactions, such as phone and email etiquette. Many times, rushed phone calls and emails are viewed as unfriendly and communicate the wrong message to the receiver. It is a good etiquette to answer the phone with a warm tone. It’s better to keep emails simple — if something is difficult to explain by email, it would be better explained by phone or in a meeting. It’s good to respond promptly to calls and emails, show up on time for meetings and events, listen when other people are talking and say hello to co-workers in the hallway.
Trust me; these suggestions works wonder for every professional irrespective of their expertise & experiences, if applied accordingly. Finally, it’s the way one reflects that matters. It is not necessary that everyone who applies these tips would start behaving similarly, but adapting them in your professional life would definitely improve your perception towards your colleagues drastically. The mix of right attitude & right behaviour towards your co-workers can make you go a long way in improving your performances. Wipe out that differentiation between your family & friends and your colleagues. Remember, after all we all are human. So, why not be humane, isn’t it?
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