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Good Manners Lead to a Healthy Organisation

Good manners is concerned with the consideration of other people, not just in extending kindness but in treating other people with respect. Apparently people with Good Manners not only consider others, but also take care of their own health and hygiene better than those with Bad Manners, and it isn't unusual for Good Manners to be adopted as approach to avoid health issues. Think about the Catch it, Bin it, Kill it campaign for Swine Flu, and the focus on the declining standard of Good Manners, such as hand washing after going to the toilet, which is feared to increase medical outbreaks in the future.

I nag my own children, in the same way my parents nagged me about having Good Manners, even simple things such as the importance of using their 'P's and Q's'. It now appears that Good Manners do matter, and, not just for the pleasantness they create, but are also important for our Health but what is the importance of Good Managers to Health in the Organisational setting.

For example, how many times have you been left feeling annoyed because someone didn't open a door for you when you were struggling with an armful of files or disgruntled at the person in the lift who didn't hold the doors to let you in? Simple common courtesies such as these are essential in the office setting because harmony is driven by social interaction that sticks to the accepted levels of behaviour. But office etiquette can be shaped by more than normal social good manners. Political and power artefacts such as car parking places, coffee runs, photocopier etiquette and when to, or not to interrupt can quickly derail a whole department if someone gets them wrong.

The absence of practicing Good Manners in the workplace, even by a few employees can cause major disruption to the engagement of employees and waste company time in resolving workplace disputes over seemingly minor incidents such as not leaving the hot desk the way it was found, leaving dirty cups in meeting room or the mess left in the coffee room or taking other employees food out of the fridge.

You may be aware of faux pas that you have experienced. One such incident that seems fairly minor but resulted in an individual being left humiliated and awkwardness in the department was the result of a manager attempting to create a great working environment. The manager bought in doughnuts and chose to share them with members of the department the problem was that there were two doughnuts and three employees; the faux pas was made worse when the manager actually decided who to offer the doughnuts to. Ouch.

Feedback is essential to ensuring the acceptability of behaviour and good manners are understood by everyone in the organisation such as Managers thanking employees for expected performance and also turning off phones and closing the lid of laptops to create the right environment for meetings. Some 'skills' such as active listening and not interrupting are Good Manners. They are common sense but also contribute significantly to a productive and motivating environment.

Good manners also extend to the external environment. Learning how to shake hands, make correct introductions, write thank you letters, respond to RSVP's, respond in a timely manner to phone messages, be a host, be a guest, dress for the occasion and dine with manners these are all nice social skills; but what a difference they make to the impression your customers have to the professionalism of your organisation. The way in which individual employees interact with customers will determine whether the customer has a positive or negative experience of the organisation.

Do organisation need to provide 'Good Manners' training for employees? Quite possibly, it might just be very good for your health.