Before we talk about etiquette, let’s first consider another e-word: Elevator.
Next time you’re in one, I want you to observe normal elevator behavior. It’s odd how everyone seems to follow the same set of rules—unspoken and yet, known by most.
When on an elevator, people always tend to face the same direction (toward the door) and they frequently adjust their position in an attempt to keep equal spacing between them and their fellow passengers. People offer common courtesies like holding the door for someone racing to make it on or pushing the button for someone who can’t reach it. Most people speak in slightly hushed tones so as not to involve others unnecessarily in their conversation. When traveling alone, they keep their eyes firmly planted on the numbers ticking by, indicating the floor the elevator is passing.
Elevators are like little floating bubbles of society with their own distinct etiquette.
If you ever find yourself in an elevator with someone who bucks these unspoken rules, you’re likely to feel uncomfortable. Maybe they’ll stand too close to you, or they’ll face you instead of the door. It’s not necessarily malicious behavior, but it just feels off.
That’s how etiquette works and why it’s so important in the workplace. When the unspoken rules of professional behavior aren’t followed, it makes you look out-of-sync. Even worse, it can make you look rude, immature, inconsiderate and even incompetent. [Read more…] about Career Success A to Z: E is for Etiquette