Like millions of others, all this hubbub surrounding inappropriate outbursts by Kanye, Serena and Russell Simmons has gotten me thinking about manners…and the lack of manners present in our current society.
I’m not going to go on and on about my feelings on those celebrity slips (everyone’s got an opinion), but I do want to talk about how important it is for us to mind our manners in the work world. So here are MPS’ top 5 basic manners and why they matter in the office and on the job hunt:
- Say “please” and “thank you”. It will be remembered. In an interview, it shows potential bosses you can be trusted with high-level clients and other important folk. In the workplace, it shows respect for co-workers and appreciation for those working with or for you on projects. People will feel good and work harder for you when they know you care.
- Learn proper table manners. If you don’t know them, learn them. Now. You might have a breakfast or lunch interview. You might be invited by your boss to lunch or dinner or dining with clients and other colleagues. Believe me, no one wants to see anyone digging into their meal with extraneous gusto, no one wants to see you chew your food, and please pick up the right dinner roll and water glass. I don’t want you grabbing mine. 🙂
- Embrace the “golden rule”. Regardless of your faith, you should adhere every day to the “golden rule”: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This relates to #1 and goes for everyone from your boss to the mail clerk. Be kind. Smile. If someone makes a mistake, don’t scream and yell like a psycho. You will make everyone afraid and refuse to work with you. Why does this matter on the job hunt? Because word spreads quickly among your network when you’re known internally as the office devil. It will crucify you in the job market. On the flip side, if you’re known to be fair, supportive and a champion, it will open all kinds of doors for you.
- Wait your turn and listen. When in a meeting or a job interview, remember to sit back, take pauses and breathe so you can best control yourself. When someone’s talking, wait for them to finish their thought before you chime in. This will do two very important things: 1) keep you from missing something important and 2) keep you from saying something that makes you look like a jackass. This one is so hard for me (I love to talk), but I try!
- Be a good sport. Win or lose, be gracious to everyone on the winning and losing teams. If you’ve beaten someone out for a promotion, don’t gloat. If your team’s lost a client, don’t be negative; go back to the table and figure out how you can improve. If you’ve been laid off, take it graciously and exit gracefully. Don’t bad mouth former employers and colleagues. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “karma’s a bitch”.
Some Web sites I find handy for manners and gracious living: