Manners Matter

Over the summer, as there was more free time to enjoy, I got caught up on some TV. Surprisingly, I found myself drawn to shows and movies that had very wholesome content.  My 16-year-old self would have called them BORING.  I was just glad to be entertained by innocent plots that my kids could watch with me, if they wanted to.

Slipping back in time, I became very aware of the manners, courtesy and respect that were displayed with distinction.  (Of course, I didn’t care for the class, race and gender discrimination of those days.)  

Many of our workplaces need a revival of basic elements of courtesy, including people looking one another in the eye, speaking clearly and respectfully, opening doors and saying hello with a smile.  Lack of basic manners can lead to bigger problems which negatively impact quality, production, creativity and retention.  Check out this 2013 article on “The Price of Incivility” in the Harvard Business Review. 

How has rudeness and bad behaviour directed towards others in the workplace become tolerable?  
How do we encourage something better?  

Like nearly everything, this rises and falls with leaders.  In her book, Mastering Civility, Christine Porath, suggests that we can ‘consciously “overwrite” incivility with civility’.  Small things count.  Smiling.  Listening.  It seems easy, right?  Surely, something we already do.  But, think about how you begin your day.  Do you make a point of connecting with people you work with before jumping into the first task?  By consciously acting as a caring and respectful leader, you become a model for what you want to see and will tolerate on your team and in your workplace.  

As Ms. Porath writes, it’s good for business and it’s the right thing to do.