“Manners are the lubricating oil of an organization. It is a law of nature that two moving bodies in contact with each other create friction. Manners ─simple things like saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and knowing a person’s name or asking after someone’s family─ enable two people to work together whether they like each other or not.” ─Peter Drucker, influential author, mentor, and consultant who is considered the father of modern business management.
Manners make us pleasant to work with and nice to be around. Manners are the grease in the wheels of the organization that keep people moving forward in groups, meetings and in departments. Organizations expect manners to be in place every day, and that members of the organization will utilize those skills when in the office and various work settings. Things like holding the door, not checking your phone when in meetings and cleaning up after yourself are some of the basic behaviors expected at work.
Being kind takes acts of good manners to a deeper level. Kindness is complex, layered and intentional. Above all, “kindness requires self-reflection,” says Houston Kraft, author of Deep Kindness: A Revolutionary Guide for the Way We Think, Talk, and Act in Kindness.
“Kindness relies on a lot of skills that we take for granted,” says Kraft, who spent seven years speaking at more than 600 schools about emotional intelligence, kindness, empathy, connection and leadership. “I realized that, ultimately, my ability to behave in kindness requires things like empathy, emotional regulation, perspective, vulnerability, and other related tools,” he shared.
In addition to using kindness to make deeper connections, kindness at work is good for your health, too. Kindness can increase productivity and satisfaction. Employees who are respectful and kind to each other have 26% more energy, 36% more satisfaction with their work, and 44% more commitment to their organization. Kindness can produce higher-quality work. When employees feel happy and satisfied at work, they are more creative. Kindness can lower stress levels and increase engagement. A culture of comfort and happiness can increase engagement levels.
Multiple studies have shown that when one person performs a kind act, the recipient of that kindness is more likely to perform a kind act for someone else. One act of kindness can have a cascading effect, as a person does a kind act for someone, then that person does another kind act for someone else, and so on and so on.
Having good manners in the office allows us to work together. Being kind causes us to use the emotional skills that we often take for granted. Whether you are engaging in common courtesy or interacting on a deeper level at the office, it is easy to transfer those skills and abilities outside of work to build meaningful relationships with the people around you.
-Deborah Lederman, Operations Manager