Politeness and manners can work wonders in the workplace


The dawn of digital communications could be a factor in why impersonal, cold interactions are plaguing the workplace.

That's according to Ron Ashkenas, the author of a blog on hbr.org titled 'Bring Courtesy Back to the Workplace', who feels that managers, executives or even a firm's CEO need to prevent further breakdowns in 'courtesy and respect'.

The prevalence of email, voicemail, telecommunications and videoconferences have replaced in-person get-togethers, writes Ashkenas, resulting in employees conducting their work in an impersonal manner.

In order to rectify such behaviour, he suggests that leaders should round up the team for an open talk about behaviour and respect in the workplace.

"What does it mean to act courteously and respectfully? Have there been incidences where that didn't happen? Assuming that people aren't intentionally trying to be difficult, what provokes these kinds of unproductive behaviours, and what are their consequences? Having an open dialogue on these subjects can powerfully re-orient your team, making them more aware of workplace courtesy and when it's lacking," he said.

Furthermore, if bad behaviour does rear its head, employees should call out these behaviours to reduce their impact and prevent any lapses of judgement in the future.

"Most of us want to work with colleagues who treat us with respect and courtesy. These days, however, we might have to put in some extra effort to make that happen," he concludes.

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