In the world of business today, gender plays a far less significant role than it once did. First of all, more women are working. Secondly and thankfully, equal rights have almost reached acceptable levels. However, there are likely to be vestiges of old behaviour lingering, which will do nothing to make the office more productive. In fact, rudeness in the workplace is the number one most destructive negative force a business can encounter. It’s even worse than financial setbacks and customer service issues, as it is usually the root cause.

Showing respect for one’s co-workers is of paramount importance. Leadership begins at the top and showing respect to others is an important part of good leadership. This should be obvious, but bullying techniques dribble down from poor leadership. Before long, the office is no longer working as a team, but rather a splintered group of angry ineffective lost souls.

I am not suggesting that suddenly office behaviors need to return to the dark ages, but I am suggesting that if one wants a productive business team and successful company, one needs a healthy work environment where respect is second nature.

Here are my five guiding words, which I hope you will incorporate into your daily lives. I guarantee they will make a positive difference.

Awareness – of how we affect those around us and they affect us.

Responsibility – take responsibility for your ‘stuff’ and leave others to handle what is theirs. Misplaced responsibility is a huge negative energy drain in the office and at home!

Compassion – for others, and more importantly for oneself. By setting our bar of expectations too high, we can easily become frustrated. Remember, we are all human, we all have faults, we all can apologize when necessary and we can all be forgiving.

Gratitude – be thankful you have a job, have customers, and have the ability to make a positive change in the world. Remind people how important they are to you and to the company. That’s teamwork!

Humility – there are no ‘big shots’. If one is having a weak moment, lashing out at others as a defense is counterproductive and destructive.

This is part of an ongoing series on etiquette in the workplace. Read previous posts here.