Modern Etiquette: Ten rules for success in the workplace

Mon Aug 3, 2015 7:08am EDT
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By Mary M. Mitchell

August 3 (Reuters) - Over a century ago, legendary magnate John D. Rockefeller said, “I will pay more for the ability to deal with people than any other skill under the sun.”

Since then, studies by companies such as Google have echoed his thinking by pointing out that the most effective managers and executives possess strong interpersonal skills.

Thus, here are my Ten Commandments for Effective Business Behavior:

1. Thou shalt have a positive attitude. Everybody has bad days. Nobody has the right to take it out on others. Rudeness, impoliteness, surliness, ugly moods, unprovoked displays of anger, and general unpleasantness can be costly to your career.

2. Thou shalt respect yourself and others in cyberspace. E-mail is eternal. Social media is a minefield. If you would not want your mother to see it, do not hit “Send.”

3. Thou shalt be on time. Keeping others waiting is the ultimate power play. This goes for in-person appointments, emails, and telephone calls. In the end, being late is self-defeating. Everybody’s busy. Everybody’s time is valuable. Being late only makes you look as if you don’t have your act together.

4. Thou shalt praise in public and criticize in private. If you intend to improve a situation or somebody’s performance, public criticism is the worst approach. It serves no purpose except to humiliate the other person, and possibly lead to cutthroat retaliation. Remember that the office gossip looks far worse than those being gossiped about.

5. Thou shalt honor social courtesies at business functions. Etiquette is just a matter of common sense with a large dose of kindness. Make sure you respond to invitations promptly and never bring an uninvited guest. Never be a no-show when you’ve said you’d be there. Good guests contribute as much, if not more, to a social occasion as good hosts.   Continued...