University Station Alliance

Linking public broadcasting stations and their university partners since 2001

Management Etiquette – Give Respect to Get Respect

What makes an effective manager? One of the essential characteristics is sensitivity to the little things that can bring big results. Whether it is productivity, motivation, or just simple common courtesy, the little things add up to management success. Here are the top ten offenses managers commit and suggestions on how to avoid them.

  1. I care about what you have to say … NO I DON’T. What are you doing when you call an employee into your office? Are you talking on the phone? Are you working on the computer? If you want them to feel what they have to say is important, you should demonstrate that with your actions. Don’t make it a second level “multi-tasked” experience when your attention is diverted from what they are saying.
  2. I am canceling our meeting … FOR THE THIRD TIME. Of course there are times when a meeting has to be canceled for unforeseen reasons but be cognizant that others are making their schedules convenient for you. You are belittling their importance if you repeatedly cancel on them. If they were more important, you would not do that.
  3. I am important … YOU ARE NOT. How often do you expect the return of phone calls or want confirmations on emails you send? Do you do that in return? As a courtesy, at least reply to an email with simple thanks or if you do not have time to return a call, get back with the person as soon as possible. YOU WILL RECEIVE THE RESPECT YOU GIVE.
  4. Speaker phones … ARE FOR THOSE ABOVE IT ALL. Using a speaker phone tells the person they do not deserve the simple action of picking up the phone. The biggest error many make is the use of a speaker phone during a conference call. The speaker phone adds room noise to the conference call and distorts all listeners’ abilities to hear what is said. The only time to politely use a speaker phone is when conducting a meeting in which multiple users in a single room are participating in the call.
  5. Some jobs are too small … I CAN’T BE BOTHERED. When employees bring you problems, no matter how trivial the problems seem to you, they probably are big burdens to them. Give them your best efforts to find resolutions.
  6. My boss will not understand …HE/SHE CAN’T GET IT. Strive for clarity and brevity when communicating with your boss. Make certain she/he has no surprises. If you have a problem that needs attention, present it to her/him with suggestions for resolution. When presenting resolution options, it is always easier to present the positive aspects of a resolution option but the boss will also want to hear the negative aspects as well.
  7. I don’t have staff favorites … YES YOU DO BUT ADMIT IT ONLY TO YOURSELF. Be careful how you demonstrate your support of staff. Who do you go to lunch with and who do you never go to lunch with? This seemingly simple action of staff friendship can cause jealousies and resentments.
  8. Volunteers are important … ONLY IF THEY DO THE THINGS I DO NOT WANT TO DO. How you treat volunteers will make or break you. Never have “in-house” conversations in front of volunteers. Never treat them as second-class individuals who are a burden to your workload. When dealing with outsiders, remember that you represent the station AND the university so be careful what you say.
  9. I will get my way no matter what … EVEN IF I HAVE TO BYPASS MY BOSS. Never direct a complaint to the top. Never “cc” a complaint to your boss’s boss. That will be the first step toward a disastrous relationship with the person to whom you report.
  10. I like what I do and it is fun … SAY IT AND MEAN IT. Don’t lose your sense of humor. Have fun at what you do. It will reflect in your work. No one likes a grump except another grump.