5 etiquette errors you must avoid in your new job

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These days, almost any new job or position at work requires learning and applying new skills. 

And while doing so isn't always easy, no matter your age, stage in life, profession or location, what's true overall is that some basic etiquette and social skills in the workplace can go a long way toward ensuring a smoother transition both for yourself and those you'll be working with on a day-to-day basis.

Here are some errors in the workplace to be sure to avoid, plus smart advice for what you should do. 

While some people might call these tips common sense — well, "common sense isn't always so common anymore," said Jacqueline Whitmore of Palm Beach, Fla.

She's an etiquette expert and author who consults with a range of businesses, organizations and individuals on everything from empathetic listening skills to networking abilities to speech-making and presentation tips.


In comments to Fox News Digital, she shared some errors in the workplace to be sure to avoid — plus smart advice for what to do instead.

In addition, John Coleman, an Atlanta-based financial services industry executive and the author of many articles for Harvard Business Review, shared thoughts with Fox News Digital about mistakes sometimes made by workers in today's hybrid workplace arrangements — and how to avoid them, too.

Check out these tips.

1. Don’t be overconfident.

Trying to prove that "you’re the smartest person in the room — even if you are," is not exactly the smartest move in today's workplace (even if you're working remotely). 

Jacqueline Whitmore, who runs a consulting business in Florida, told FOX Business, “It’s important to stay humble. People respond well to others who can relate well and get along with almost anyone.” (Amalie Orrange / Fox News)

Why? As Whitmore explained, "Overconfidence can make you appear cocky and arrogant," no matter what the work environment may be like, she added.

"We all know one person who is the strongest, smartest and just all-around best at everything," she pointed out. "And we admire this person even more when he or she is modest and helpful."

Whitmore added, "It’s important to stay humble. People respond well to others who can relate well and get along with almost anyone."

“When you listen to other people” on the job, advised Whitmore, “you’re more apt to learn something new.”

She also said that no matter "how successful you are or might be — live your life with gratitude."

Also — "always try to see the world through other people’s eyes."

2. Don’t ignore great advice from those who have gone before you. 

It's easy to dismiss the counsel of others — no matter who they are and no matter how much sense their words or advice make — and believe that we alone are the ones who know exactly how things should be done. 

But as Whitmore pointed out, "We have two ears and one mouth, so we should be doing twice as much listening as we do talking."

In a new job, advised Whitmore, “strive to learn at least one new thing every day. Ask others for advice.”

She advised, "When you listen to other people — especially those who are older and wiser than you — you’re more apt to learn something new."

It is very smart, she said, to "strive to learn at least one new thing every day. Ask others for advice. And if the advice resonates with you — take it."

3. Don’t dismiss seemingly “menial” tasks. 

It's often in the mundane and menial — especially when you're just starting out at an organization — that you pick up important clues and information about the jobs above yours, plus what it takes to be successful in the company overall. 

“Even if you think you’re overqualified and overeducated, do the best job you were hired to do.”

Said Whitmore, "Even if your job, in 2022, involves opening mail and answering phones, do it well and cheerfully."


She also advised, "And even if you think you’re overqualified and overeducated, do the best job you were hired to do."

4. Don’t demean anyone.

It's just not a good look, period.

In other words, "Treat the janitor with the same respect as you treat the CEO," said Whitmore.

5. Don’t put down opportunities for “casual interactions” in today’s workplace.

In our increasingly remote or hybrid work arrangements, it's easy to snicker at the opportunity offered by leadership to mingle with other people at work in person, especially if it takes a great deal of effort to get yourself there.

Atlanta-based John Coleman told FOX Business about the importance of informal, in-person gatherings during today’s increasingly remote or hybrid workplace culture. (John Coleman / Fox News)

And while remote work has its benefits, often it's the casual, unscheduled and social interaction with others at work that can help you grow in your career by making or building connections with others — or learning key insights about the workplace and its processes, or those who run it.


"If you already know someone and trust someone in the workplace, it's easier to sustain that connection over Zoom calls," said Coleman. 

"But a remote work situation isn't always great for building new relationships with colleagues or others."


"It can be OK — but it doesn't have the same power that informal, in-person interactions can have," he said.

Organizers of such events should “leave a lot of unstructured time” on the calendar for relationship building.

He said this is why he encourages companies and teams to find ways to offer in-person gatherings periodically for their employees, as appropriate to their business.


Also, he advises that organizers of such events "leave a lot of unstructured time" on the calendar for relationship building.

It's far too easy to crowd and cram everyone's calendars with meeting after meeting or appointment after appointment. But that unstructured, informal time can prove more valuable than meets the eye.

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