Sunday, 20 May 2012


Over the course of our careers, we will learn new skills and spend money on training and professional development to remain relevant and employable. However, there are work skills that if you don’t have, can affect your employment negatively. One of them is your ability to conduct yourself in accordance to acceptable codes of conduct and behavior in the office collectively known as work etiquette.

Work etiquette encompasses far more than simply knowing which hands to hold your knife and fork at the office formal dinner party. It's more than a polite smile and a thank you when your colleague hands you something that you asked for. It incorporates all types of manners and behaviors including those that involve your work dealings which influence how you come across as an individual, how you relate to others both within your own organization and externally and how you make use of the tools with which you can communicate.  
While office and national culture breed unique codes of conduct observed in offices across the nation, it doesn’t change the importance of observing office etiquette. Work etiquette when used within the office can greatly improve the dynamics of your work relationships and impact positively on your productivity on the job. Listed below are some tips you can make use of:
1. ZIP IT Learn to think before you speak. Bite your tongue before that provocative remark comes out of your mouth and you find yourself embroiled in a fight.
2. SIT, WAIT, THINK AND ACT WHEN CORRECT. Whenever you have issues in the workplace, you're better off thinking through your words before you voice complaints, thoughts or suggestions.
3. LISTEN, DON'T DISPUTE. Sometimes your manager needs to tell you how disappointed he is with you. Sometimes your co-worker needs to go on a rant about how you "neglect" him or her. Sometimes your employee needs to express his or her resentment about the way you've treated them. You can't argue with feelings. But remember, listening doesnt mean absorbing and when it becomes personal, walk away.
4. DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT AND DOCUMENT AGAIN. Rule No. 3 having been followed, make sure you protect yourself with thorough documentation of any potentially volatile situation. This rule applies to people on both sides of the power structure. A smart employee as well as a smart manager will document issues that relate to self-preservation and the protection of their job/company.
5. CLEAR BOUNDARIES MAKE FOR GOOD WORK RELATIONSHIPS Create boundaries and set limits in the workplace. Know how much contact you can take and how much will ignite your internal nuclear bomb. Also, keep in mind that you don't know which one of your co-workers will be easily ignited, offended or wounded so it’s better to be proactive rather than reactive until you identify your more temperamental work mates.
6. CORDIALITY AND FRIENDLINESS After creating appropriate boundaries, make every effort to be cordial and friendly. Ask co-workers and supervisors about how they are; notice changes in their appearance in a complimentary way; comment upon the quality of their (good) work.
7. THOU SHALT NOT OVERREACT. EVER. When people feel neglected, they often will create a scenario that invites your overreaction. Overreactions cause all out wars and can get you into serious trouble so don't do it! Assess all disputes. Are they really worth fighting over?"  the answer more often than not will be no.
8. WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET. Learn to appreciate the differences between you and those around you. The more you understand your co-workers personalities, the better you get at working with them
9. STAY IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT. Take control of potentially volatile work situations and take charge of managing them strategize and evaluate the personalities you contend with and apply good people management techniques relevant to the people you live with during your workday.
Observing work etiquette is important because you are your own biggest ambassador/spokesperson at work. Always act with honesty and dignity. Be neat, clean and as conservative as the business requires you to be. Keep your interruptions of others to a minimum and always apologize if your intrusion is an interruption of a discussion, someone’s concentration or other activity. Show respect for other peoples’ workspace(s). Show appreciation for the courtesies extended to you.  make “Please; Thank you; You’re welcome”, part of your everyday vocabulary. Be discreet and compassionate in your criticism of a co-worker and never blame someone else for your own mistake(s) but do politely and firmly stand up for yourself whenever necessary.  

Have a great week everybody!!

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