During a conversation I was having with a group of managers recently, an interesting discussion stood out to me as an easy win to improve relationships with teams. The managers were saying that their Senior Executive walked into their small department every day and sat down at their desk having only said hello to fellow peers, ignoring the rest of the group. The instant reaction from those in the rest of the group was one of distrust, dislike and a complete loss of respect. “Surely, this is basic manners!” That one small action had such a dramatically negative effect; it’s a shame that the Senior Executive involved didn’t seem to be aware of it.
There could be many reasons why that Senior Executive behaved in that way. As a one-off they could have been in a hurry, they could have been concerned about what their presence felt like to junior staff or indeed, they could even have unconscious insecurities. For instance, I used to hate walking into the office and having to loudly say hello to everyone, as I used to be very shy, but I still did it as it felt like the right thing to do.
But it’s obvious that this one behaviour, happening every day, can have such a negative impact on a Senior Executive’s relationship with those around them. And yet it is so easy to correct.
As is please and thank you. Very early in my career I wouldn’t acknowledge my boss’ request until he said please!! May be I could have been seen as a bit bolshie in those days but, as with most people, my personal values respects basic manners between two people!
Unfortunately, it’s often the case that the individual involved has little self-awareness of their behaviour and how that could be affecting those around them. And their leadership skills, motivational ability and credibility could be put into question. Within any coaching session I always discuss with managers that as part of their leadership their every move is being watched, they are a role model to their team, and integrity, honest and humility is registered and respected.
Have you experienced what it feels like to be ignored? What impact did that have on your relationship with that person?
We can’t always get it right. Self-awareness allows you to understand your behaviour, your triggers, your needs and values, and it’s then that you can start to see, understand and appreciate why others are different and improve your communication skills accordingly. But we can check our consideration of others, and manners definitely seem to be high up on most people’s values list.
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