Courtesy In The Workplace -- Can You Say, Thank You?

Thank you is such a beautiful phrase. When you say, thank you, it makes a world of difference. Recent research suggests that discourtesy in the workplace is rapidly becoming an increasing dilemma for businesses and organizations. Workplace incivility is growing, including an increase in bad manners, rudeness, coarseness, vulgarity, and a lack of respect.

In 1999, researchers Pearson, Andersson, and Porath at The University of North Carolina Business School determined that incivility in the workplace can impact company profits due to lost productivity and employee turnover. Their studies indicated the significance of this impact as follows:

People who experience rude behavior on the job:

  • Quit their jobs(12%)
  • Lose work time(52%)
  • Deliberately decrease their work effort(22%)

However the most disturbing result was that over 78% of those surveyed said that this kind of behavior has worsened in the past decade.

Why Say, Thank You?

  • It demonstrates that you value courtesy and good manners. Saying thank you for something you have received, no matter how small is a great way to communicate. It shows understanding and encourages a positive reception and acceptance.
  • It promotes good health and a successful lifestyle. Extending common courtesy to others demonstrates maturity and a healthy self-esteem.
  • It is fundamental to strong interpersonal relationships and in building rapport. It really doesn't take much to be cordial to others by saying please and thank you as you carry out business and job responsibilities.
  • How to Form a Thank You Habit

  • Learn and practice proper work etiquette. Get back to basics and focus on how you can make your workplace a more pleasant environment for all-bosses, workers, and customers. Acknowledge in some way each person you meet even if it is only with eye contact, a nod or smile.
  • Concentrate on creating pleasant and agreeable experiences for everyone who interacts with you. Be gracious and considerate. Watch for uncivil behavior. Every day you are presented with situations that allow you to show common courtesy and consideration to others. Be proactive and take advantage of every opportunity to be cordial.
  • Minimize any It's-All-About-Me tendencies. Instead Do unto Others as You Would Have Them Do unto You by displaying empathy and finding opportunities to increase your connection. Remember how it feels when someone insults you or is rude to you. Think about what you can do to improve civility in your work unit, team or department. Then, just do it!
  • Be sincere and genuine. Your efforts must be honest and heartfelt. Being courteous comes not from your head but from your heart. If your actions do not match your words, then your efforts will be in vain.
  • Never underestimate the power of a Thank You! Take time to acknowledge and extend courtesy to someone today!

    Althea DeBrule, entrepreneur and seasoned human resources executive, has focused for more than 30 years on helping people achieve their career goals. Creator of The Extreme-Career-Makeover? and a founding partner of RADSGroup Organizational Consultants, she is recognized for her bottom line and practical application of career development and management strategies in a way that penetrates hearts and compels action. She speaks and teaches with inspired talent, humor and contagious zeal at management conferences and leadership retreats nationwide, and has been featured in CFO Magazine, [email protected], Human Resource Executive Magazine. Althea is the author of Bosses & Orchards, a compelling and candid book about how to make your work relationship with your boss succeed. To discover how you can take your career to a new level, visit

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