This revived Forbes article on being late is unacceptable drew significant attention recently on social media platforms. It made us think about common corporate courtesies and came up with three etiquette traits that are not often considered but will give you a professional edge.
There are some fantastic lists available on business manners and meeting etiquette. Mastering being present, accountable and grateful, however, will take your professional attributes to a whole other level of respect.
We live in a distracted society. Our busyness and our pace see us reviewing, absorbing and moving on in our interactions much like social media. We are constantly switched on multitask mode, leaving all our windows open in order to be available, not forget anything, and stay on top. The problem with this is not only it is ineffective because our brains are “not wired to multitask well but we give the impression we don’t care.
Profoundly good communication and genuine connection are one of the many positive results of practising mindfulness and being present to the needs of others.
“Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organisation. When that happens, people feel centred, and that gives their work meaning.”
One of the best ways to demonstrate being engaged in the moment and to other people’s needs is with active listening.
WYE? Programs place a great deal of emphasis on the practice and importance of active listening across all our learning programs, including mentoring. It’s such a valuable skill to master because it addresses a fundamental need that everyone wants to be heard and understood. More importantly, if you can identify how the person is feeling, then you are beginning to demonstrate empathetic listening.
Four quick ways to show you are present and listening:
Personal accountability, as in taking responsibility for who we are, for ourselves and others, says “I can be counted on” driving safety and trust. Accountability is a sign of great leadership.
Here are three ways to demonstrate your accountability:
1: Give up excuses. Making excuses for why things are not getting done is easy but be perceived as a masked form of procrastination. “I’m too busy” or “I have never done that before” or “I don’t know what I am doing” are great excuse examples.
2: Give up blame. Giving up pointing the finger at others for why goals or responsibilities are not getting done, and owning the problems of your colleagues, staff or customers is another way to demonstrate your accountability. Overcoming this requires us to point the finger at ourselves and admit we may, in fact, be the problem, not other people or factors.
3: Give up looking good. Don’t ever hesitate to seek clarification on what is expected of you. The most effective individuals and teams understand what they are responsible for and how to achieve the best results.
“What are you grateful for?” It’s a question we regularly put to teams and individuals on our programs. Taking a moment to be grateful can have a grounding effect, but also has an amazing effect on lifting your spirit and the spirit of others. It makes you smile, perhaps laugh and works as a fantastic icebreaker for the start of a meeting.
Like all humans, we want to be appreciated, so one of the easiest ways to demonstrate gratitude is to say “thank you”. “Thank you for taking the time to think this through”, “thank you for making that point”, “thank you for listening”, “thanks for meeting me in your busy day”, “thanks for replying so quickly”. On the outside “thank you” might seem like a small gesture but has the ability to leave a big impression.
Practising being present, accountable, and grateful is something we have to take time to master. Yes, these may be reminders and may seem obvious but in today’s fast paced world it’s these actions that are equally easy to do or not to do that can make the difference to how you are perceived and make other people feel.