Appeared in Cincinnati Business Courier - Click here for published article.
Written by Tiffany Adams, CELI President & Cincinnati Business Courier Guest Contributor
What in the world does business etiquette have to do with leadership?
Everything! How does a leader inspire a team who doesn’t respect them or who doesn’t feel respected? It’s not possible. Understandably, leaders are focused on the strategic direction and bottom-line results as they must answer to shareholders, bosses, and boards. They often miss the quiet signs of how their relationships are evolving and don’t get a true reading of how their behavior, words, and body language are affecting organizational members. This is why the results from Stanford’s School of Business 2013 Executive Coaching Survey made complete sense. The survey revealed the worst flaw in CEOs and other leaders is their lack of self-awareness. Without self-awareness and for that matter, self-restraint, leaders are ill-equipped to set the right tone for their work culture and the relationships they influence.
That’s where business etiquette comes in to the picture. Business etiquette underscores the importance of self-restraint. It is a vital tool that arms leaders with the business acumen they need to respond to others pragmatically and professionally, not emotionally and counterproductively. Furthermore, etiquette intelligence suppresses the “It’s all about me” ego in favor of considering others. Good etiquette and protocol inspires the positive outcome of making people feel respected, trusted, comfortable, and important. That’s when the magic happens and the oars start rowing in one prosperous direction. When an ‘others-centered’ mentality prevails at the top, meaningful relationships are built; people are inspired; goals are achieved; dreams are realized; and bottom-line results are achieved.
Heads up to emerging leaders: Set yourself apart by wisely equipping your toolbox with these essential, yet often overlooked, professional development skills. There’s a reason why business etiquette has reemerged as a smart way to invest in yourself in today’s fiercely competitive world. In a world of rapid change where technology and intercultural communication have never been more prominent, corporate etiquette provides the road map that guides our behavior in adapting appropriately to all of this change. Is business etiquette old-fashioned or a lost art? Only if meaningful relationship-building and smooth communication skills are not important anymore. As you will undoubtedly come to find, these skills remain crucial towards the long term success of any business or leadership role.