After seeing, hearing, and reading all the recent hullaballoo about employees publically quitting their job, I was reminded of how important manners are and how we often overlook them.
Take the case of Stephen Slater, former active employee for JetBlue Airlines, turned possible folk hero. While Slater was treated rudely by a passenger he was providing a service to that day (and he claimed, many other customers spanning his career), I don’t think, and I’m sure many agree with me, that it was necessary for him to so rudely and publicly exit his career.
Also, I’m sure there were young children on the plane and as a parent of children under 12 I try to instill good speech and certainly don’t want them to “overhear” a flight attendant on a loudspeaker uttering curse words. Never mind having them see a grown man whisking down a safety slide when clearly there was no emergency.
We were all taught as kids “two wrongs don’t make a right.” Then when we got older, we were taught that “the customer is always right.” Mr. Slater forgot theses pearls of wisdom.
Recently, I started following Jodi R.R. Smith on Twitter after reading her article, Gracious Good-Byes – Career Transitions. While Jodi has some great tips on protocol for an exit strategy, she also has periodically written pointers on manners in general, not just for the workplace. These are two that standout to me:
- Attention Clerks: Customers who took the time to enter your store should be waited on BEFORE those calling in by phone.
- Politeness costs nothing and gains everything.
To that I would personally add:
- Everyone’s time has the same value – be punctual and never assume a colleague or friend is less busy than you.
- Be courteous to family, friends, colleagues and strangers – say good morning; give a compliment; smile at someone on the street.
I also decided to weigh in with a youngster’s take on manners. While my 10 year old was unaware of the Slater JetBlue fiasco, he did have some interesting responses to my questions on manners:
What are manners?
A. Manners are what you use to be nice to other people and let them know you are a good person.
What is courtesy?
A. This means you are aware of other people and not yourself all the time.
How do you show consideration?
A. Don’t say words that would hurt people’s feelings. Listen to them. Then when they are done you speak and you say thank you if they say something about you that you like. Also holding doors and asking people how their day is is nice to do.
Do you think adults and kids treat each other with respect?
A. I think most people respect each other most of the time, but, it’s human-nature to ignore someone or say something mean once in your life.
Uh oh…but you apologize right??
A. Yes, you can say sorry and make it up to them with a smile.
So what has happened to manners or at least having the dignity not to act so rashly in front of an audience of onlookers? Perhaps, the increased acceptance and need to document every moment of our lives via online and social media plays some role. Perhaps workers feel compelled to vent and unleash frustrations publically when they might otherwise have handled the indiscretions privately because they are more likely to get a response from their boss or peers. Or perhaps some aren’t as concerned with their public image as their public relations or media relations counterparts. What are your thoughts? Please share your ideas with me and the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers.
*Bio: Colleen Flood has been a sales consultant with BurrellesLuce for over 12 years and is eager to become a more integrated part of the social-public relations community. She primarily handles agency relations in the New York and New Jersey metro-area. She is not only passionate about work, but also about family, friends, and the Jersey Shore. Twitter: @cgflood LinkedIn: Colleen Flood Facebook: BurrellesLuce