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It's time to bring back professional courtesy

Commentator Randall Kenneth Jones says professional courtesy is not only good for morale, but it's also good for the bottom line too.

Like many of us, I was taught the Golden Rule as a child: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

And when it comes down it, professional courtesy is just as simple as using the Golden Rule at work. Do unto your co-workers as you would have them do unto you. But stop and ask yourself, "How often does that happen in my office?"

Sure, it's easy to blame technology for the decline of professional courtesy -- after all, hasn't our tweeting, posting, texting, and emailing taken away from our ability to, for example, talk to each other?

But more than that, there's been a moral lapse in today's workplace in which treating business associates with courtesy and respect is no longer regarded as critically important. As we're all required to do more with less, have we simply run out of time for workplace pleasantries?

At a time when displays of good manners seem to be on the decline in all parts of society, my biggest fear is -- does anyone even notice any more?

When I was younger, not returning a phone call, in any situation, was unforgivable. Of course, that was before the majority of our workdays were ruled by Outlook calendars, smartphones, and out-of-control email. The time earmarked today for email management was once spent bonding with co-workers -- becoming a stronger team by actually talking and listening to each other.

More than "please" and "thank you," professional courtesy has always been defined by the way we teach, learn, listen, and respond.

The bottom line: If your team is lacking professional courtesy, it's probably also lacking the creative, analytical and communication skills necessary to make your organization the best it can be.

About the author

Randall Kenneth Jones is the founder of the website RediscoverCourtesy.org.
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In business, most decisions are driven by emotion ( check your instant emotional reaction to that statement). So my point is, we decide in positive ways about people and situations that we feel good about. And we feel good because of the way we are treated. And it is not easy to slow down, smile, breathe, listen and be kind because we are so darn busy doing things like dealing with email communications that often do not feel very courteous. I think Randy has started a conversation about something fundamentally tied to our success. Thank you Randy!

I too was taught the Golden Rule, and "love thy neighbor as thyself." Unfortunately many people treat themselves worse than they treat one another. Mic Hunter (author of back to the Source:The Spiritual Principles of Jesus)

This article hit home with me. My company is advocating spending more time with my employees and to interact and do the respect thing. My plan was to disengage from the e mails, phone calls, voice mails, etc today and do just that. What happened? That plan went right out the window when I needed to have X, Y and Z completed before the end of the day, e mail of course. The disconnect with employees and Mgt stems in large part because of all the tech connections we are attached to and the demands of it. Until those issues mentioned in the article do take place, nothing will change.

You really did hit on some very important issues. Technology will NOT change and will always be a barrier but I do applaud the attempts you and your company have made. And I suspect, simply by discussing the concept of courtesy and communication with your staff, you have done more to create a positive environment than you may suspect. :-) Please feel free to join our LinkedIN discussion group too: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Rediscover-Courtesy-Professional-Courtesy...

Since the end of the Cold War, I have spent most of my career as a temp, contractor, or networking from home. 'Teams' are as obsolete as lifetime jobs.
I hated bonding anyway!

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