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Manager’s Checkup: Minding your work manners

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in Business Etiquette,Workplace Communication

Team leaders need to help their people be on their best workplace behavior. How are your team's on-the-job manners? Test yourself with this quiz:

1. A supplier tells Zachary that Belton, on another team, is rude and sleazy. What do you tell Zachary?

a. It's none of his business.

b. The two of you should brief Belton's manager.

c. You'll have a word with Belton.

2. Your manager e-mailed Dan over the weekend; on Monday, she complained she didn't get a response. What should you do?

a. Tell her Dan doesn't work on the weekend.

b. Tell Dan to start checking e-mail from home over the weekend.

c. Ask your manager to contact you if she needs a prompt response.

3. Tanya has a caller on hold who's just berated her for a mistake made by another team. What do you tell her to do?

a. Offer a sincere apology and carry on.

b. Offer to do what she can to fix the error.

c. Transfer the call to the other team.

4. Your budget's been cut and you can't hire assistants for Dean and Davia. How do you break the news?

a. Meet with Dean and Davia, then meet with the rest of the team.

b. Send out an e-mail to the team, then meet with Dean and Davia.

c. Meet with the whole team at once.

5. For her volunteer efforts, Jill has been asked to join the CEO at a swank party. But she doesn't want to go. What do you suggest?

a. Go, enjoy, and be proud to be in the spotlight.

b. Graciously decline, citing "prior commitments."

c. Make an appearance and leave early.

How well did you do?

Here are the answer our experts gave:

1. It's Belton's manager who needs to act; B is most sensible. It is the enterprise's business, but you only know this third-hand complaint, while Belton's manager may have more information that either hurts or helps Belton's cause.

2. Go for C. Your manager may have a good reason for wanting an offhours response, but she must not have conveyed that to Dan very well, and he shouldn't have to guess. If you'd prefer to be called or paged instead of e-mailed, tell your boss.

3. The customer wants a solution, not just an apology, so B is best. Tanya shouldn't take blame for another's mistake, but handing off the call will only further annoy the customer.

4. A is the right order. Dean and Davia need to know first, but the whole team needs to cut costs. Don't use e-mail to convey this kind of bad news, unless you want to start rumors and gossip.

5. If Jill is expected to attend, A is the right choice — how bad can it be to be praised by the CEO? Telling a lie is a bad idea, and an early exit will be noticed by people who matter. If she really doesn't want to go, despite the consequences, she should tell the truth.

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