Bad manners can severely damage your reputation and effectiveness as an employee and can reflect poorly on your company. In today’s culturally diverse workforce, the chances of saying or doing “the wrong thing” are much greater than ever before. Sometimes because of your behavior you may loose your job or may not get promotions until you fix your behavior.
The changing business environment demands that employees on all levels master the principles of etiquette as quickly and thoroughly as possible in order to avoid the serious ramifications of inappropriate behavior, poor judgment, or cultural insensitivity. Here is the list of things you need to be aware off and change your habits.
- You are in an important meeting and you are always on your mobile and ignoring people around you. Technology, which was supposed to make our lives easier, has increased expectations on our productivity. Work load is very high and time given to you will be shorter, and you are required to handle multiple situations and tasks but you should never ignore people around you who are expecting you to participate in the meeting.
- You have a loud voice and you are shouting to your peak in the mobile phone ignoring your colleagues who are working quietly.
- You use the office kitchen and don’t wash the utensils that you used. You fill up the office refrigerator with your food and forgot to remove it after several weeks. The fridge smells bad and it reflects on your callous attitude.
- Forgetting a name of a person you just got introduced to within few minutes of introduction.
- Forwarding company confidential email to a wrong person or to wrong company, or outsiders and not able to realize about it. This one will bring you a lot of trouble if you are not paying good attention to whom you are forwarding or talking to about company affairs. Be very watchful when you talk about confidential information to outsiders or even your close outside friends.
- You are in a meeting and forgot to switch off your cell phone and it started ringing loudly disturbing the meeting.
- Your lunch which has onions or garlic or strong smelling ingredient can cause bad smell in your mouth that your co-workers are unable to bear.
- Be observant and ask questions. When traveling internationally, notice how people act, dress, and treat each other.
- Think before you speak. Avoid slang. Stay away from controversial subjects like politics and religion, unless, of course, your host brings up the subject but be aware whether you are in business meeting or personal meeting. While on company meeting be polite and divert the attention back to work from politics or religion.
- Keep an open mind. Be aware that something as simple as a handshake differs from culture to culture. In some countries, eye contact may be kept to a minimum as a way of showing respect. And don’t be surprised if someone greets you with a kiss on the cheek.
- Never refuse hospitality when it is offered. In most cases your international host will offer you water, coffee or tea. Gladly accept their offer, even if you are not thirsty. By not doing so, you run the risk of insulting him/her.
- Appreciate the differences. Don’t compare living standards of your country. with those of your international hosts. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of where you live, but boasting and comparing can be counterproductive to establishing a successful relationship.
- Be apprised of world events. You don’t have to be an expert in international affairs, but it is helpful to know the basics, like what foods your visitors or hosts enjoy, what holidays are observed in their country, and a lot about rules of the country and their favorite sports.
- Learn a few phrases that connects you to your international friends and make them comfortable talking to you . Learn at least a few common phrases before traveling abroad Your efforts will be appreciated.
- When on international projects or in a different country do mix with other nationals as much as possible and try learning about their culture and habits. You may end up becoming best friends for ever.
Some ideas to rectify the problems you may have noticed in your personality while reading some of the above points are as follows.
Return to Courtesy
When confronting a colleague about his or her annoying behavior, focus on solving the problem and maintaining the relationship rather than venting your anger or embarrassing the other person. Speak to them in private and sort out the matter as quickly as possible.
Ask the bad mannered employee if he/she was aware of the effect his/her actions had on others and discuss possible solutions.
Start viewing your actions from the perspective of those around you so that you don’t create the same trouble to others.
However, even the most self-aware person can have blind spots, so ask a trusted colleague or good friend if there are areas in which you can improve. If you’re the boss, get feedback via anonymous surveys from your staff. You might also consider hiring a coach to shadow you.
And quit multitasking. Not only is it insulting to others, but it doesn’t work–research has shown that multitasking reduces both your effectiveness and your efficiency.
Finally, make sure the words “please,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome” are a regular part of your vocabulary. Just saying “Thanks, great job” can make a world of difference and that brings smile to other person”s lips.
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