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Stop the Insanity! – Business Etiquette 101

I really wanted to go with a different topic for my first blog post  but recent events have caused me to go in a different direction.  I know, I know…there are all kinds of blogs, articles, posts, etc. on this subject everywhere in the blogosphere but I have to go my own way on this one.  I truly believe that the (lack) of business etiquette in our daily lives is one of the major drivers of the stress we all experience, it lays the foundation for disengagement and it can ultimately leads to apathy if not snuffed out.

Now I am not talking about tiny slivers of perceived slightness.  I am talking about the everyday, every hour, nails on the chalkboard type of behaviour that sets us off.  What I propose is that we all take some ownership of this issue and not make it a “management” or “leadership” issue….but a “human” issue.  Let’s all pledge to take a bit of ownership in this madness and try to make our work world a bit better.  To that extent, let’s work together to stop the following behaviours or stop exhibiting these behaviours:

1) The smartphone abuser – during any point of your conversation with them, as soon as that phone buzzes with a new email, it comes out of the holster and is immediately read.  Conversation is interrupted….communication ceases….respect is gone.  Message = any email I get is more important than this conversation.

2) The conversation interrupter – this is the type of person that feels it is ok to simply amble into an office where two people are speaking and unilaterally interrupt; because of course, what they need to talk about is far more important than what is currently being discussed.  (Hey, what about knocking first ?)

3) The office lurker – similar to #2, this is the person who lingers in your doorway while you are discussing a business related matter with a colleague.  They may stay in the doorway the entire time or go and come back every 30 seconds to check and see if you are free.  (We often enable this behaviour by pretending we don’t see them.)

4) Faster than the speed of email – this is the co-worker that sends you an email and then immediately runs down to your office to ask “Did you get my email?”  “Did you read it?”  Of course, they have interrupted any work you were currently focusing on that time.

5) The meeting overrun lord – this is the classic individual who has the conference room booked just before you.  Their meeting doesn’t end on time..not even close.  Of course now, you have to interrupt them or find another locale for your meeting…which inevitably makes your meeting start late.  Which leads to:

6) Meetings not starting/ending on time – we all experience this one.  Please, start your meeting on time and end when scheduled.  If more time is needed, reschedule for another time.  We all have tight schedules throughout the day and the late starting/ending meeting causes that schedule to fall like dominos.  (Hint – agendas help keep meetings on track but aren’t used nearly enough).  I once had a colleague who never came to a meeting if there was no agenda.  If the meeting didn’t start on time he left..if it didn’t end on time, he left at the time it was supposed to end.  Not sure whatever happened to him but that must have felt so liberating!

7) The cube glee club – this is the group of individuals who feel it is necessary to discuss personal matters at someone’s cube at a voice level that reaches a crescendo that interrupts the thinking of all other cube mates around.

These are a few of the main etiquette violators I have witnessed/experienced over the past year.  I am sure there are others and would love to hear your stories.  However, I am taking the pledge now:

“I will not exhibit or enable these behaviours.  I pledge that if I see these behaviours occur, I will respectfully ask that the other party or parties cease that behaviour out of respect for everyone else.”

 If we all take a moment to bring a little more respect, a little more civility and a little more etiquette to our workplace(s), we all might feel a bit better each day about our work experience.  What do you think?  Is it that easy?  Will you take the pledge?  What else can we do to make our work experience better?  Who is with me!

P.S. – I also pledge to blog more on leadership, HR, social media, etc. for my next post!

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7 Responses

  1. Great to read, Scott. I think the “Faster than the speed of email” is the one I will work on!

  2. Tks for taking the time to read Brenda! I appreciate your feedback! In the fast pace of today’s business world we are all guilty of these in some capacity 🙂

  3. Welcome to the club! Great post!

  4. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Jay!

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