Etiquette is formally defined as a code that delineates expectations for social behavior according to norms within a group. Yet what we are seeing is a breakdown of clearly defined norms due to rapid changes in technology and society. In fact, we have more generations in the workplace at one time than ever before in part due to the economy and in part due to better health and longer life expectancies. How do you handle things when you have disparate viewpoints and habits? When you have people who love to shoot out a brief text next to people who would rather have a long, collaborative meeting?
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We all know the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And yet that assumes that we all have the same preferences and the same etiquette will please everyone. So if a conduct code or set of rules isn’t clear anymore, then I would suggest we move towards the purpose of etiquette, which in my mind is to make our interactions run as smoothly as possible. As I think about creating new habits for business etiquette, I would suggest a new Golden Rule: do unto others as they want to be done unto.
New Golden Rule
Here are three quick tips for enabling you to do unto others as they want to be done unto:
Finding new ground rules requires a willingness to respect others’ styles, as well as a belief that it is both more productive and satisfying to build relationships from that respect. In order to forge new rules of etiquette, we all need to be willing to acknowledge that there are benefits in others’ approaches and be willing to do unto them as they would prefer whenever possible.
Question: What's your Golden Rule for Etiquette?
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