Thumbs up for good manners

Aug 01 2007 by Derek Torres Print This Article

I'm all for a rise in civility in the workplace. So too is Steve Harrison, chairman of management-consultants Lee Hecht Harrison, who has written a book called The Manager's Book of Decencies.

What Harrison describes is nothing short of the ideal place to work – for example, managers, you could show some decency by shutting up. Ok, perhaps he didn't put it exactly that way, but Mr. Harrison does suggest keeping meetings short and actively participating in them (other than as the only person speaking), as well as making sure you know everyone by name.

While the end result may not change, this way people may at least feel that their opinions are valued.

Other suggestions include laying off people in a humane manner – do it face to face, not before a holiday, and never on a Friday.

A quick handshake or even a simple hello is an easy trick that managers can put in to place (at no cost!) that will improve morale and keep employees wanting to work for you.

Of course, despite the goodwill bandied about in his book, there's no reason to have to pay for this sort of information. A little courtesy in the workplace is beneficial for many reasons, including selfish ones.

Being nice may just get you what you need during project crunch time. Or, perhaps, just perhaps, it's enough to know that your parents probably raised you to be well-mannered – why save it just for them during the holidays?

Nevertheless, Mr. Harrison's book does seem to provide a quick crash course or a refresher for those whose professional behavior is, shall we say, lacking. Let's just hope that enough people read it; we can tackle decency for others, such as drivers on the way to the office later.


Older Comments

I have been in HR for 16 years. I am so happy you mentioned laying people off or terminating people face to face, and not over the phone or by sending an email on a Friday!!! This happens often in the real world and I think it is so tacky!!! I am the Vice President/Co-Owner of a staffing firm in Illinois, and you wouldn't believe the stories I hear all the time!

I am not trying to promote anything on your blog, but if you get time, check out a book I just sent the news press. It's called, '25 Reasons Why THEY Won't Hire You!' and '25 Reasons Why I Won't Hire You!' found at You can read a few chapters there for free. I am curious about what you think about the reasons people are not getting hired. This should create a great discussion.

The Chicago Sun Times and the Milwaukee Journal just featured these books as a must read.

I am a first time blogger... so be patient with me if I did something wrong here.

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Z. Glass Chicago, IL