By Jim Wong, CPA | August 17, 2016

Are you up to par with workplace etiquette?

There’s no denying that the corporate world has plenty of social aspects—from networking events to happy hours to friendships with colleagues—there are plenty of times when you can find yourself in a social setting and still be in work mode. Therefore, as with any social situation, social rules apply.

However, where does one go to learn these rather soft skills?

Most accounting, finance and IT professionals concentrate on their technical skills to get through the work day. Yet, it’s important to know and understand the basic rules for communicating and interacting with your co-workers each day, as well. Therefore, you have to take it upon yourself to learn how to be respectful to your colleagues and know how to properly handle various situations.

I came across an article on Forbes recently that candidly discusses how not to be rude and unprofessional by accident. I thought the information was very fitting for the workplace and thought I’d share a few of the tips, along with a few of my own in the 4 Ways To Be More Respectful to Your Colleagues below.

1. Don’t call out a co-worker or be nasty in an email.
If there was a misstep or a project has taken a turn for the worse, do not call out a co-worker by name in the email. You should be supportive of your teammates and they should be able to trust you. Therefore, call the person or walk over to their desk to find out exactly what happened and then you’ll be able to better address the situation in your email without throwing anyone under the bus. Additionally, don’t say things in an email that you would not normally say to someone in a face-to-face situation. It’s not professional to use email as a passive-aggressive way to get your point across. Be sure to only type messages in an email that you would say to the person directly.

2. Don’t miss a meeting without an explanation.
We all know that things come up from time to time and you may have to arrive late to a scheduled meeting or miss it all entirely. That is OK as long as you send a text or email to inform your colleagues that you’re running late, or cannot make it. You want to be respectful to your co-workers who were able to take the time to make the meeting.

3. Don’t overstep personal boundaries.
Even if it seems as though your workplace is filled with many social aspects, be respectful to colleagues who you’re just getting to know. You don’t want to ask too personal of questions like about romantic relationships or the status of a family member’s health unless you know the person is comfortable discussing such issues. It takes time to develop a relationship to that personal of a level. So, be respectful of the process.

4. Don’t blame others for your mistakes.
This is rather fundamental, but you don’t want to blame someone else for a mistake you made. Be mature and respectful and take accountability for yourself. There is nothing more off putting than someone who places the blame of their mistakes on others. It most likely doesn’t demonstrate the values that your company holds either. You want to be sure you show integrity and accountability at all times.

These are only a few of the ways to be more respectful with your colleagues. Do you have other tips? Comment below and let us know.

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