Business etiquette tips for managers

By Lee Polevoi

Every social setting involves certain “rules” of etiquette. In the workplace, the manager who pays attention to etiquette sets the tone for everyone else. Here are some tips that should be part of your daily routine:

Get out and about

A boss who stays behind his desk with his office door closed is sending the wrong message. Whenever possible, make yourself visible around the workplace. Interact with employees on their home turf. This will help facilitate more comfortable and productive communication.

Don’t neglect small talk

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This is part of the “get out and about” tip. Your team appreciates even a few minutes’ chat about the weather, upcoming holidays or Monday Night Football. This builds what business etiquette expert Jacquelyn Whitmore calls the “BLT factor”—believable, likable, trustworthy. “The only way to get to know someone is through that BLT factor,” Whitmore says.

Be generous with praise

Complimenting team members builds morale and provides incentive for future assignments. Just imagine the opposite: Employees who never receive praise become disgruntled and demoralized.

Avoid a “rescheduling cycle”

You’re usually busy and unexpected things do come up. But if you repeatedly reschedule meetings with your peers or employees, you will soon get a reputation for carelessness and a lack of consideration for other people. If necessary, schedule less-pressing appointments during the times of day when you’re least busy.

Don’t gossip

Employees don’t have to know many details about your personal life, nor should you get involved in theirs. Gossip about money, marriage and romantic encounters should be off limits. The only time to respond to gossip is when rumors come up about the company. If you can address those directly, do so.

Work on your “boss face”

You may think you know how you come across to others, but it never hurts to remember the impression given by facial expressions. Scowling drives people away, and grinning suggests an overly relaxed attitude. A welcoming but dignified expression is the most desirable—while not neglecting to smile when the time is right.