The Art of Manners

Manners, a peculiar aspect of human behavior, often manifest differently in public than they do within the confines of our homes, despite our deep love for family. While we readily understand the principles of good manners and proper conduct, we often forgive ourselves when we fall short of these ideals. Nevertheless, the significance of manners extends across various facets of life, encompassing work, home, family, sports, leisure, and more. A fundamental principle guiding positive conduct is the golden rule: treat others as you wish to be treated.

In our line of work, interaction spans a spectrum, from the everyday individual to high-profile Business Leaders. Different personalities and varied treatment of others are observed. Good manners, however, transcend roles; they are ingrained in an individual's value system. Our approach is to treat everyone with the same level of respect and dignity that we expect for ourselves. Unfortunately, not everyone reciprocates. Ideally, a world where everyone plays nice in the sandbox would be delightful, but managing people over the years has taught me that negativity begets negativity.

When faced with negativity, each person has a choice – to let it affect their day positively or negatively. While unpleasant encounters can impact mood, they also present an opportunity to appreciate one's own positive nature, patience, and goodwill. Perhaps the other person is having a tough time or is not as fortunate. Regardless, as I tell my kids, you control yourself, not others. Each person can choose to rise above what they witness.

Here's some advice:

1. Avoid Workplace Arguments: Engaging in arguments, raising your voice, or acting defensively can harm your reputation or even lead to termination. Stay composed, act professionally, and embrace constructive criticism.

2. Pause and Reflect: Allow feedback or discussions to settle. Reacting impulsively based on emotion can be counterproductive. Take a moment to collect your thoughts.

3. Present a Plan:  Return with a well-thought-out action plan to address any issues. Articulate what you will do, how you will do it, and by when – all presented in a professional and courteous manner.

4. Agree to Disagree: If consensus proves elusive, it's okay. Politely agree to disagree, emphasizing your commitment to the company's best interests without souring the atmosphere. Accept that not every decision aligns with your perspective.

Manners go beyond polite phrases; they entail professional behavior in the workplace, applicable to both office and industrial settings. Dress code does not dictate professionalism; you can act professionally in any environment. A seasoned manager once advised me, "you never know who you're going to work for in the future," emphasizing the importance of not burning bridges with poor manners. Establish yourself as a professional, well-mannered individual, and regardless of being right or wrong, you'll foster better opportunities in the long run.

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