I was at a seven year old’s birthday party the other day who is a friend of my son. It was a small party with a group of young boys having a great time playing together to celebrate their mate’s birthday. After a short while, they sat down to have lunch. As they finished up and rushed off to play again, one boy remained. This little boy proceeded to help to pack up all the plates, put the chairs back within the table as well as take all the dishes in to the kitchen. It was impressive to see such great manners on hand particularly given the more favorable option to go and play with his mates.
Around a week later, we had two spare tickets to go to the football at Adelaide oval. My son was keen to invite a friend from school and their Dad who coincidently was the same little boy that had showed impeccable manners at the party I described above. I sent off an email to invite them to the football. That afternoon, my phone rang. It was this little boy who rang to say thankyou for inviting him and his Dad to the football and that they would love to come.
The small acts demonstrating impeccable manners above had really struck a chord with me. I was taken aback with the beautiful manners this young child had described in a number of different ways. It should not be the case that manners like this should be so uncommon. Yet, they clearly are in my opinion, given the way I was struck by how much these acts had stood out to me.
This focus on the importance of manners is just not relevant for life but for work. The small acts that can be described as manners and politeness make a difference to how you perceive others and their approach to showing gratitude. I am not suggesting that you make a song and dance about every act that someone helps, coaches, mentors or assists you in some way. Rather, I feel that showing genuine gratitude makes a difference to how you are viewed by managers and other people in your team as it shows that you care and that you appreciate others. It shows that you know it is not just about you and you understand the gestures, thoughts and acts of others help you become the best you can be.
Observe manners in your workplace and reflect on what I have written above. Identify who utilises them and who doesn’t. Chances are the ones that do are team players, support others and are generous with their knowledge, expertise and insights. The ones that don’t generally are focused on themselves and what is in it for them. Their lack of manners will become an Achilles heel or potential stumbling block for them as they progress their careers given that you cannot do anything worthwhile by yourself without the help of others.