When climbing the ladder, manners are often left behind

Being courteous to co-workers plays a role in a person’s career prospects, but a majority of workers in a recent survey say those who move up the company organisational chart often do so at the expense of manners.

A survey by staffing firm Accountemps showed that 70% of workers believe that people become less courteous as they climb the corporate ladder.

“Time constraints and external pressures aren’t excuses for bad behaviour,” Max Messmer, the chairman of Accountemps, said in a news release. “While it takes more than just good manners to rise through the ranks, displaying professional courtesy will only help your career.”

The survey, which polled 450 US office employees, backs that up. Eighty-five per cent believe good manners either greatly or somewhat positively affect a person’s career prospects.

Open office designs in today’s workplace can lead to etiquette breaches. Employees in the survey said the biggest etiquette faux pas in this type of space was using a speakerphone or talking loudly on the phone (36%), followed by loitering or talking at a co-worker’s desk (23%).

Other top etiquette breaches include eating food that has strong odours (15%), keeping a messy or cluttered workspace (14%), and leaving the phone ringer on loud (8%).

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Neil Amato ( is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.