Do Manners and Courtesy matter in the Workplace?

I have spent the last week working with a colleague in England it has been an interesting and rewarding experience.  We are working with an international client and we are helping them by providing an eight-competency leadership program that is coupled with feedback provided by the CCL Benchmarks 360 degree feedback tool.  While that may be too much detail for some, it gives you the understanding that we are working very closely with a number of leaders to help the “sharpen their saw” in order to be more effective in leading others.

The point of this post is more about the differences we experienced in the workplace with not only the leaders of the organizations, but also with almost every level of staff member we came into contact with.  While I am not saying that we are rude and inconsiderate in the USA, I am going to say that the level of courtesy and service we experienced in England surpasses almost anything I have experienced in a long time.  I have worked in other countries like Kuwait and Japan, but not doing exactly the same kinds of work.  Let me cite a few examples of the differences we saw so you can draw your own conclusions.

We arrived at our first destination on Monday morning and we were warmly greeted by the front desk staff member who had our name tags prepared.  We were ushered to our training area and soon thereafter we began having leaders from the firm drop by to introduce themselves and to say hello and also to tell us how much they appreciated us coming to work with them.  I have never had this kind of warm response with any firm I work with in America.  Again, not anything bad here, just a cut above in England.

We worked with our groups for two days and then had a group dinner on Tuesday night  where we were both welcome and included in the evening’s festivities.  It was a great time away from the hard work, but rewarding work we had all put in for the first two days.

We then moved into the second phase of our work   where we were transported to another client facility and we had the opportunity to stay in a local bed and breakfast.  Our host was most gracious and took the time to give us both some pointers about the community as well as dinner recommendations.

Our final day today was more of the same as we were warmly greeted and personally taken to local shops so that we could purchase gifts for trip back home.

My point in writing this post is not to say good and bad, but to compare good to much better or even great. 

Personal courtesy and respect is something that doesn’t require a great deal of effort, but it does require discipline.  Many times I know I get lazy and don’t go the extra mile for my clients and my colleagues.

My trip to England was a wake-up call to show me just what a difference a little personal attention and courtesy can make.

Have you had similar experiences?  Do you too think we have become a little lax in going the extra mile to make others welcome?