Family & Education

How to Earn Respect at Work

To quote actress Lillian Gish, 'You can get through life with bad manners, but it’s easier with good manners'
BY Bill Lindsey TIMEJanuary 19, 2022 PRINT

The need for good manners extends into the workplace and at all work-related events. Even those working remotely need to be aware of how they interact with coworkers via phone calls, texts, emails, and online meetings.

Respect the Work Environment

During work hours, you’re expected to be on time, working efficiently and as hard as possible. You are also expected to adhere to the dress code. Dressing right extends to online meetings; even if you’re the CEO, you need to be presentable. If a suit and tie aren’t required, follow Casual Friday standards, avoiding T-shirts with questionable messages. Also, keep your workspace or what can be seen in online meetings tidy and organized.

Be Responsive and Pay Attention

Respond to emails, texts, and calls as soon as possible; they contacted you for a reason, so don’t dawdle replying. But during meetings or phone calls, pay 100 percent attention. If you take notes, don’t get so engrossed that you miss key information. Turn off your phone’s ringer, or even better, don’t bring it to the meeting. Resist the urge to read texts, emails, or surf the net regardless of how boring the meeting may be.

Be Nice, Be Helpful, but Don’t Be That Guy

Just because your mom says you’re special doesn’t mean you are the smartest, most talented person at work or have all the answers. Similarly, denigrating others or efforts made prior to your arrival won’t be well-received by coworkers. Working as part of a team, brainstorming ideas and finding solutions can be very productive and fun, and lets your coworkers know you respect them and their work. At all times, be pleasant, acknowledging coworkers with a smile.

What Happens in the Office Stays at the Office

YouTube etiquette expert Myka Meier says to resist the urge to post comments about coworkers or your work on social media. Even truly innocent comments could be misconstrued and come back to haunt you. On a related note, Meier recommends respecting boundaries by not becoming too familiar or oversharing your personal information with coworkers. If you realize a coworker is oversharing with you, find a diplomatic way to end or redirect that and future conversations.

Leave Your Home Life at Home

It’s understandable that a stressful situation at home can affect your business day, but the most successful people find a way to separate their personal life from their workday. Everyone has issues, but it’s not wise to broadcast them at work. Doing so can distract you and others from your responsibilities. If you have an overwhelming issue that is negatively affecting your performance, schedule a meeting with your supervisor to request their assistance and understanding.

Bill Lindsey
Bill Lindsey is an award-winning writer based in South Florida. He covers real estate, automobiles, timepieces, boats, and travel topics.
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