Mind Your Manners to Get Ahead

Author: Angela Campiere       

Children are frequently told to mind their manners. But a new survey says adults seeking career gains would be wise to heed the same advice.

Being courteous to coworkers can greatly accelerate career advancement, according to 65 percent of managers surveyed in an Accountemps survey titled Mind Your (Workplace) Manners. Here, based on survey findings, are four additional habits to adopt:

1) Be on Time to Meetings

Thirty-four percent of senior managers and 12 percent of workers said running late or missing meetings entirely is the most common breach of workplace etiquette. Back-to-back meetings are increasingly common and one long meeting can throw off the rest of your schedule. The key to keeping your schedule intact — and remaining in the good graces of your colleagues — is to line your schedule with buffers between meetings. Often, email calendars dictate availability, so use that to your advantage. Block out a few minutes before and after each meeting on your calendar to ensure you have time to dial in or make it to the meeting room before the next discussion kicks off.

2) Avoid the Rumor Mill

While joining in on office gossip can make you feel included, it’s in your best interest to steer clear. According to the survey, 23 percent of senior managers and 24 percent of workers said gossiping about others in the office is the most common breach of workplace etiquette. How can you avoid the office rumor mill? If a conversation veers into rumor, look for ways to bring it back to more neutral ground. If you can’t get the conversation back in fact-based territory, bow out and get back to work.

3) Make Responding a Priority

Responding to messages in a timely manner is crucial to your project’s — and your personal — success. According to the survey, 26 percent of senior managers and 17 percent of workers said that not responding to calls or emails in a timely way is one of the most common office etiquette offenses. Carve out a few minutes of each workday to respond to your messages, even if it’s “I’ll look into that and get back to you” or “When do you need an answer?” While you don’t want to let answering email monopolize your day, a simple acknowledgement that your coworker’s message was received goes a long way.

4) Pay Attention at Meetings

Being distracted during meetings such as checking a smartphone or writing emails is one of the most common workplace etiquette fails, according to 7 percent of senior managers and 18 percent of workers. Respect your colleagues’ and managers’ time by paying attention and fully participating in the conversations taking place. It can be difficult to avoid multitasking during meetings, especially if they’re not face-to-face, but you’ll be surprised how much more you can take away from a phone call or meeting if you’re fully engaged.

Meanwhile, don’t let summer’s perceived casual air affect your business manners. Learn how to avoid the season’s ubiquitous productivity slump.

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