Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Rule 37: Use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’


By on 10:30
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Nigerian Clothier & Fashion buff, Mudi Enajemo of MUDI  Africa

You would have thought this one so obvious, so basic and so fundamental that surely it can’t be part of the Rules.  Sorry, but we all need reminding that saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ is terribly important.  It just doesn’t happen enough.  People say that they are too busy or too forgetful, or that it should be taken as read that they have said them and they don’t need to each and every time. Rubbish.
The only reason ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ get forgotten is plain old bad manners.  If we start ignoring even the basic levels of human decency and politeness then there really is no point to any of us being here.  If we aren’t civil and civilized enough to thank someone, or to be bothered enough to say please, then it really is time to pack it in.    

It doesn’t matter how many times a day someone passes you a piece of paper – it is ‘thank you’ every single time without fail or exception.  It doesn’t matter how many times you have to ask for the same thing – you always say ‘please’.  If someone does anything for you, no matter how mundane, trivial, repetitive, boring, effortless, you will always say thank you.

“The only reason ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ get forgotten is plain old bad manners.  If we start ignoring even the basic levels of human decency and politeness then there really is no point to any of us being here”.

You forget one time and you will be labeled as rude, boorish and unpleasant.  Make someone’s day and don’t forget, please, Thank you.  I once worked with a manager who could get staff to work the graveyard shift, come in on their holidays, work overtime, work their days off, take work home with them, work at weekends and work harder than any other manager could.  We all watched him, trying to work out what it was he was doing that we weren’t.  He was getting loyalty from his team that we weren’t.  I know you are ahead of me at this stage and have got your hand up with the answer.  He said ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.

Yes, happy now?  He did indeed.  And that simple bit of politeness went a long way.  I don’t think his staff consciously knew he did it.  We certainly couldn’t spot it for a long time.  Most of us reckoned we also said ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.  But he said it without fail every single time.  And when you say it, mean it.  A sincere and warm thank you goes a long way.  It is also a very good way to respond to compliments and praise yourself.  If someone says you have done something well, don’t blush and stammer ‘it was nothing really’.  That subtracts from their compliment.  Better instead just to say, ‘Thank you’.  Never use the word please to wheedle or cajole.  It is ‘Could you work through this lunchtime, please, as we need extra cover on the phones and I’ll make sure you get the time back a bit later this afternoon’.  It is not ‘Pleeeeease can you work, pretty pleeeease’.

(Excerpts from THE RULES OF WORK by Richard Templer Read “Thy Shall not swear” from The Rules tomorrow on Asabeafrika)

Rule-to-Work Series

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