As busy professionals in a highly competitive workforce, we are all seeking ways to enhance our performance, sharpen our work-related skills and outclass the competition. From online courses to professional development seminars, most of us are more than willing to pay for professional advice and instruction on how to better ourselves and stay relevant in an ever-evolving and demanding workforce. But in our never-ending quest for professional development and self-improvement, there is one skillset we may sometimes forget to use and it doesn’t even cost a dime: using our manners.
Even though good manners cost absolutely nothing, using them can be one of your most valuable assets in the workforce. Having good manners and using them to guide your own behavior and your professional relationships sounds simple enough but often people underestimate the value of this personal commodity. Most important, good manners show you have respect for yourself, your coworkers and colleagues, as well as your office environment. Good manners in the workplace are also beneficial for the following reasons:
Manners show gratitude When you thank a coworker for helping with the big presentation or when you simply say “please” when asking for a favor, you immediately show respect for the time and energy of your colleagues and they will be more than happy to help you the next time. This attitude of gratitude goes both ways and can enhance your working relationships.
Manners show class By keeping your workspace clean or making sure to not leave dirty dishes in the common kitchen area, you exhibit class by showing respect for your shared working environment and ensuring that others will not have to clean up after you.
Manners set you apart When you choose to not indulge in office gossip or to not forward that questionable joke via email or text, you set yourself apart by showing dignity and that you want no part of lowbrow behavior that may hurt or demean others. By standing up to boorish behavior, you set yourself apart as an individual thinker and someone who stands firmly against a mob mentality.
Manners are memorable When you take the time to send a thank you note to a colleague or client or give a gift card to an administrative assistant who worked overtime on a project, you make an impression that can last a lifetime. People remember these little gestures and, who knows, they may be the one in a position to help you in the future. Of course, it’s not why you should do special gestures, but it can be one of the positive ripple effects of being nice to others.
Manners are smart In these litigious times, workers need to pay attention to their human resources guide more than ever. Not too long ago, off color jokes and comments that were offensive to minorities, women, or people of different religions, sexuality or political persuasion were commonplace in the business world. Today, these jokes can get someone reprimanded, fired, or sued. Using good manners is not only the right thing to do from a cultural standpoint, they can also help you maintain professional and respectful working relationships.
Manners make the workday better When you use good manners at work, it can be contagious. When you treat others with respect, they will most likely take a cue and start returning the favor. And when you work in an office of well-mannered professionals, you will see a reduction in unnecessary friction among coworkers which can result in enhanced productivity and a much happier working environment.
Manners make you feel good When you use good manners, you are spreading compassion and care to others which can uplift your mood. Knowing you are doing your part to promote positivity and respect for your fellow human beings can make anyone feel much better about themselves and the part they play in the world.
So on this “Bring Your Manners to Work Day”, remember that manners don’t cost a dime but, they can make you a very valuable human resource in your office.
September 6, 2019 is Bring Your Manners to Work Day - a day to remind people of the importance of treating people with courtesy and respect in the workplace.