I’m back this week again on the topic of workplace, professional courtesy and expectations.  I posed a question last week whether or not it matters being on time anymore and have we accepted a lack of punctuality as being okay. Of course, I touched on the fact that maybe it’s just a sign of our graying professional population having expectations that are out of line with a younger generation. Based on the responses I got from many of you, it seems we should continue to have a focus on business etiquette. I really liked this line from one of my readers telling me he’s thinking of offering a course for a professional association he’s involved with titled – “Business Etiquette in the Age of LOL, BRB, and TTYL – Do Manners Mean Anything Anymore?” I was asked to continue on a similar discussion, so here it is.

Business etiquette still calls for punctuality. Studies have shown that particularly when working in teams, the members pay attention to punctuality even if they may not say something out loud. There’s nothing worse than internal frustration or a feeling of unworthiness, because other team members don’t have respect for everyone’s time. Reshoot clearly shows that when people chronically ignore punctuality, they’re the same people who are late on deadlines and in general just can’t really be counted on. Wow, that’s harsh. Or is it? It seems that punctuality indicates dependability.

REPEAT AFTER ME… Business etiquette and courtesy matters. Remember that keeping other people waiting is the ultimate power play, it screams out loud that you think your time is more important than theirs. Given the multitude of communication and that in today’s age means keeping people waiting for meetings, being slow to respond to e-mails and returning phone calls all fall in the category of being late. Whether the people you interact with will tell you or not, they will view you as rude and/or inconsiderate, or at worst that you believe they are not worthy of your respect. I’m just glad to learn that my additional research indicated that almost everyone really dislikes being late and ignoring the importance of timeliness is not becoming a lost courtesy.

As more and more of us will be interacting with multiple generations through our career, staying mindful of interpersonal skills not only for ourselves but for constructively influencing others should be common sense. For older generations being open-minded to new forms of communication and its value will go a long way. Remember, it’s never too late to learn something new and have an open mind. The only way that various generations will have positive workplace interaction is if everyone has the same goal in mind. I don’t think anyone sets themselves a goal of being rude, lazy, in different, ill mannered, or generally discourteous. And while we might be tempted to look at a lack of business etiquette as cheeky, I don’t know many folks who can pull that off. Let’s always help each other be the best we can be in all forms of communication! Long live simple courtesies.