Do Manners and Appreciation Belong in the Workplace?

A recent N & O published an article about a fine dining experience which was the culmination of a year-long effort to teach students about the value of social etiquette and good manners. Social etiquette is part of the leadership skills that students learn at the magnet school.

Students are encouraged to use manner words such as please, thank you and excuse me and to respond to teachers by saying “yes” or “yes, ma’am,” according to the principal.

Every day, students thank their teachers for teaching them. Their teachers respond by thanking the children for learning with them.

The principal stated, “It truly develops just that sense of value, of honoring kindness and honoring ways to proactively and positively communicate with other people”. 

In workplaces we have heard employees and managers say things such as, 

  • “It’s part of their job to do this, thank you doesn’t fit.”
  • “This is the expectation and not going above and beyond when a thank you is appropriate.” 
  • And sadly, “This isn’t part of the culture here.”

Yet demonstrating appreciation, valuing what others do, and recognizing all contributions to reach the mission matter. This is essential for effective leadership, promoting well-being, and enhancing positive workplace experiences. In fact, such, ‘manners’ are the foundation for well-being!

Organizations can learn a lot of leadership skills from this middle school program.  It is time to 

  • Foster positive work culture
  • Foster well-being
  • Cultivate leadership qualities
  • Practice gratitude
  • Demonstrate appreciation, and 
  • Recognize the value each stakeholder contributes

Photo by Ambro at

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