As the mother of a 5 year old, I spend a lot of time teaching manners, i.e. please, thank you, I’m sorry, excuse me, etc. Since it’s my job as his parent, I don’t mind at all, and feel a great sense of pride when I don’t have to remind him and/or his manners are recognized and complimented by others. The only downside of actively teaching manners, would be noticing the manners, or lack thereof, of others. On a recent trip to the grocery store, Carter loudly exclaimed “Hey, she didn’t say excuse me” when a woman around his grandmother's age shoved past him through the isle. At first, I felt embarrassment start to rush through me, and then I stopped myself because, he was completely right. I’m talking 100% correct.
After that, I really started paying more attention to people, and how they interact with strangers, both young and old. What I found out was appalling, to say the least. It’s like we’ve completely lost all common sense when it comes to previously assumed societal norms and etiquette. Woman exiting Starbucks with armful of coffee? Yeah, let’s just let her get that door for herself. Small child in your way in the grocery store? Best way to address that, would be glaring at him with an obvious sense of annoyance. Did you have a colleague assist you with sprucing up a presentation for a client? Well, there’s absolutely no reason to say thank you to them. That’s their job, right?
It’s not all doom and gloom out there though, there are always bright spots. Shining reminders that people are generally good, polite, and appreciative, but the question remains, how do we get those spots to be more than that? Now, we could blame parents, technology, teachers, etc. for the decline in basic manners and etiquette, but, like so many things in life, the best way to truly see impactful results would be to look at ourselves. You’ll find the answer, and its simplicity will amaze you: The Golden Rule. Yes, by behaving towards and appreciating others the way you’d like to be, everything will become just a little bit better.
As you go on with the rest of your days and weeks at work, try just a bit harder to remember your manners. Throw a please into that email to request something from your team. Remember to say thank you for unexpected and expected assistance with tasks and projects. If you make a mistake or miss a deadline, own up to it, apologize, and work to rectify the misstep. You get the idea. It’s so simple, it won’t add more time to your workday, and the positive results will be immeasurable.
From the mouths of babes, right? It’s amazing what you can learn from the one you’re supposed to be teaching.
This post was written by Jaime Leben. Jaime has over 10 years of experience in the RPO space working all aspects of the recruiting process as well as assisting with Implementation and Sales with various clients and industries. She started with Yoh’s RPO division in 2009, and currently works to drive recruitment, on-boarding, and process improvement for Internal Recruiting as well as her role as an Operations manager for small RPO programs. She holds a B.A. in Communications from U.W.S.P., and lives in Southeastern Wisconsin with her husband Jim, and 5 year old son, Carter.