Having good manners is a prerequisite of professionalism. Your conduct is a reflection of your upbringing, education, values and principles, the organisation you work for and the company you keep. Always be true to yourself—if you can’t be true to yourself, you will never be true to others. In other words, don’t change your values and principles to suit circumstances or other people. Here are some useful tips:
- Do what you are supposed to do.
- Be accountable for your choices and actions.
- Showing gratitude will help you to build lasting relationships. Send thank-you notes (e‑mails are acceptable) or make phone calls to thank others when they have been good to you.
- Show gratitude to life, nature and—if you feel this way—to God.
- Dress and behave well.
- Always show restraint and good taste.
- Don’t brag about yourself in any way—let your deeds speak for you instead.
- Show genuine interested in others—encourage them to talk about themselves.
- Listening to others shows respect; don’t interrupt or argue.
- Before speaking to others, consider what effect your words will have. Watch your motives, and remain quiet rather than intentionally saying something that could hurt either the person you are speaking to or a third party.
Don’t criticise or complain
- A person with good manners won’t criticise others in the workplace, or complain about circumstances.
- Avoid gossip. If you can’t change the subject, remain non-committal. If you can’t say something good, say nothing.
- Be honest. Don’t deceive people by saying one thing and doing another.
- Never cheat or steal.
- Do not ever repeat information that has been given to you in confidence.
- Have the courage to do the right thing.
- Be reliable. Keep your promises.
- Be loyal — stand by your family, friends, colleagues, your organisation and your country.
- Treat other people with respect.
- Never demean anyone by telling rude jokes.
- Never ask embarrassing questions.
- Don’t use bad language.
- Don’t threaten, hit or hurt anyone.
- Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements.
Be respectful of other people’s time
- Always arrive on time.
- If you’re running late, let the other party know by making a quick phone call or by sending them a text message (SMS).
- Arriving early for a social engagement is not appropriate—your host may still be preparing for the event.
- Do not overstay your welcome.
Behave and look your best
- Train yourself to maintain your composure and self-control.
- Be a calming influence in a stressful situation.
- Have empathy for others.
- Always act with courtesy and politeness.
- Dress your very best every day.
- Strive for understated elegance.
- Keep your home, car and workplace tidy, neat and well-organised.
Do not abuse alcohol or drugs
- Do not drink alcohol during a business lunch if you have to return to your office, nor if it may offend someone you’re with.
- Never abuse the privilege of an invitation to your organisation’s bar. If you become drunk and disorderly you will damage your image beyond repair.
- Using mind-altering substances like drugs, or even legal medications, can destroy your chances of advancement at work, or result in your dismissal.
Be a good citizen
- Be a good neighbour.
- Become involved in your community.
- Do your share to make your community a better place to live in by cooperating with neighbours and, if necessary, with the authorities.
- Protect the environment.
- Obey the law.
Be a courteous motorist
- Be friendly and polite.
- Obey the rules of the road.
- Don’t swing in front of other cars.
- Be helpful, if you can be, when someone is in trouble.
- Remain calm and in control when others don’t behave well on the road. Road rage is completely unacceptable.
Don’t use bad language
- Don’t tell crude jokes.
- Swearing and crudeness are unprofessional and can ruin your chances of advancement.
Do not gossip
- It is often tempting to pass on information about others. We may even be able to justify doing this. However, gossiping is a hurtful activity and people will not trust you if they know you gossip.
- Before passing on information about others, ask yourself, ‘Is it true? Is it harmless? Is it necessary?’ If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’ then say nothing.
Be responsible with money
- Don’t borrow money unless it is a real emergency and you are in a position to pay it back almost immediately.
- Don’t discuss your debts, income or pay increases with anyone.
- Don’t tell anyone what you paid for items and don’t ask anyone what they paid for anything.
- Don’t show off your cash, credit cards or wealth.
- Give generously to the needy.
- Be fair to your staff.
- Your undivided attention
- Warm greetings
- Good news
- The truth
- Your best
- What you owe
- Back what you borrowed
- Without expecting anything in return