As a parent, one of the essential traits I instill in my kids is respecting the people they interact with every day. Their classmates and their friends, as these are the people that my kids will be together with for the remainder of their childhood. It seems that more and more, the schools are implementing group projects as an essential part of the curriculum. To work effectively in the group, kids must be open-minded and respect all views and perspectives. This may be a difficult task for kids who are still trying to identify their own sense of individualism. However, is it still a difficult task for working professionals in the adult world?
Social dynamics are at the core of every workplace. Whether you’re a nuclear engineer or a sanitation engineer, social engineering is an essential element to your job. You must assess how you interact with the various levels of the corporate social structure. Do you behave differently with the CEO then you do with the maintenance staff? Do you ignore the security guard at the front desk while at the same time chat up the CEO in the elevator? The difference in your social interaction with the various groups within the company could be negatively interpreted by those around you as being insincere or not trustworthy. You must evaluate how you intermingle with everyone in the company and how that interaction reflects upon you as a person.
The workplace is a social environment. As such, social norms should be expected from the workforce. Too many times, people ignore (or conveniently forget) expected social behavior when interacting with coworkers. Social interaction is a major part of every job regardless of your profession. Interacting with customers, coworkers, or supervisors is an essential element of professional life. Just like when you were a child and your parents taught you how to speak to adults, the same protocols are in place. You must make sure that you stand/sit up straight, make eye contact, do not interrupt when someone else is talking, dress appropriately, and most importantly, don’t forget to say please and thank you.
Please and thank you: these are two of the most important things to say in the workplace. They are very simple words that from the earliest parts of our development are ingrained in our behavior as customary when interacting with people. They are at the core of social etiquette, yet are severely lacking in the business world. The imprint that you leave behind with these simple words is immeasurable, so leave behind a kind, professional, and respectful impression.