There Is Always Time for Courtesy and Professionalism

This is a really good article and it reminded me that many times we are constantly working and thinking in the weeds and overwhelmed with work that we don’t always pay attention, or that we are not in-tune, with how we are acting or behaving as well as what our body language is displaying.


We can all take a moment, every day, and stop and smell the roses and remember we can be courteous and professional. These are our team members, our peers, our staff, our colleagues we as posted in other posts, we need to show that we care. As manager and leaders, our team members look to us for strength and control of our emotions (or how we display them). Most of all, they look to us as an example. If we act kindly, genuine, courteous and professional, it will breed like an “infection” to others in your team (and those around you). And we all want to work in a happy and healthy environment.


I know with my staff, I routinely remind them to take one hour out of their day to respond to emails, phone calls, and tickets, but most of all to get outside the “work” and build relationships with those around them – those they work with and those they serve – with kindness, sympathy, understanding, and now adding courtesy and professionalism. So far, the feedback I have received has been incredibly positive and reflective of what we talk about every month in our team meetings.


Enjoy the article below and I hope you stop and reflect on the meanings in the article and implement the ideas in your work place.




Molly McGee Hewitt


There’s Always Time for Courtesy, Professionalism …


We’re all busy. I get it. I’m busy, too, and so is my staff. Every member leader of CASBO is busy with their jobs, their lives, their families and their responsibilities. While our calendars and activities may ebb and flow, we’re all busy.


Even though we have deadlines, reports and a wide variety of assignments, we always have time for courtesy and professionalism. They are a choice we make each day when we come to work. We can be an asset to our organization, or we can allow our personal issues to take us off course.


In one local education agency where I worked, one of my colleagues refused (yes, I said refused) to say hello or good morning or, basically, to have any social interaction with colleagues. Apparently, before I arrived, there was a feud between departments, and this person took it very personally. Their way of dealing with the issue was to become discourteous, sullen and unresponsive. The tragedy for me was that their supervisor allowed this to continue! The entire division was considered rude and unprofessional — not a description that I would want applied to myself or any of my colleagues.


Some folks excuse their behavior with statements like, “I’m having a bad day,” or “I have way too much to do,” or “I do not get paid to be nice.” Each of these statements has a ring of truth to them. You may be having a bad day. We all do. It’s when your bad day turns into multiple days, weeks, months and years that I begin to worry. Even on your bad day, is it OK for you to negatively affect your colleagues and coworkers?


“I have too much to do” — true, most of us work hard. But is that a valid reason for not being a professional with good social skills? “I don’t get paid to be nice” — huh? Do you get paid to be a surly public servant with no self-awareness or understanding of your effect on the team? I think not. Customer service, both inside and outside of our organizations, is part of every school business official’s job.


We live in a world that’s experiencing many divisions and disagreements. For the first time in my life, I find it hard to debate or discuss with some folks any issues that we don’t agree on. I don’t understand where this failure to communicate and share our differences and reasoning comes from. It’s almost like the old Hatfield and McCoy feuds. You’re either on one side or the other, and you refuse to listen to or consider another side.


Along with this division comes bullying, name-calling and a derisive attitude toward anyone who challenges or questions authority or motives. Instead of sarcasm being used for comedy and light-heartedness, it’s used as a weapon! How can this be happening in 2018?


For years, I’ve worked to adhere to the cliché, “Disagree without being disagreeable.” Critical thinking and strong leadership demands that we consider all options, opinions and concepts before making a decision. It empowers us to make better decisions and lead with dignity. Joining in mudslinging or name-calling doesn’t advance our intelligence or our society.


It’s as true today it has been for centuries — respect breeds respect. If we’re courteous to each other, that level of civility creates a positive environment. The very simplest things — like saying hello, thank you, please, nice to see you, how can I help you, or simply acknowledging the presence and effort of others — make an enormous difference. When they’re not present in the workplace, many folks will say they’re in a “hostile work environment.” While that phrase describes an uncomfortable situation, it’s actually a legal term that does not refer to climate!


How do you feel when you enter a place where you are not welcomed? How do you feel when someone slights you or fails to acknowledge you or your efforts? Would you want to work for someone who is discourteous or unprofessional? Would your colleagues describe you as courteous and professional?


The reality today is that the only way we can change our workplaces or homes is to change ourselves. We need to make sure we’re part of the solution and not part of the problem. We need to keep our bad days in the parking lot and not bring them into the workplace. We need to be beacons of courtesy and professionalism. It all starts with us. Will you join me?

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