The Boss Show

Workplace wisdom with heart and humor

June 12, 2012

Etiquette Shmetiquette

By Steve Motenko

Okay, that title is unfair – but it’s how I felt when I walked into the studio recently to record a Boss Show podcast.

Our guest was etiquette guru Arden Clise, who consults with companies on workplace etiquette and writes a column for the Puget Sound Business Journal.  At the top of the show, I copped to my bias:  etiquette has long felt to me like an outdated, arbitrary set of rules that serves no useful purpose in society except for making old schoolmarms a little less cranky.

Perhaps not the best way to welcome a show guest.  Perhaps not great show-guest etiquette.

But my personal rules of etiquette demand me to be authentic (though of course without inflicting harm).  I couldn’t do the show while giving listeners the impression that I’m totally down with the concept of etiquette.  Hell, I even greeted her at the door of the KIRO studios with my shoes off.  I’d removed them while recording.  Both Jim and our producer, Tina Nole (I found out later), were uncomfortable with me walking through the KIRO studios in socks — even at 7pm with almost no one else around.  I guess etiquette isn’t my strong suit.  (And frankly, part of me is thrilled to be an iconoclast — a rebel without shoes …)

But I digress.  The etiquette guru and I did not come to blows.  We ended up agreeing that etiquette codifies common sense … and that common sense is nowhere near as common as it oughtta be — else etiquette wouldn’t be necessary.

As a badge-wearing Iconoclast, I’m still wary of slavish adherence to etiquette — especially when the individual leaning on it can’t back it up with bona fide common sense.  But it was a really fun conversation with Arden Clise, and I found myself agreeing with much of what she brought.   We just released the show today – go back to the home page to download it.  Be interested to hear what you think.

Now I should go write her a thank-you note for appearing on The Boss Show.  First let me find my shoes …

You can listen to The Boss Show podcast on workplace etiquette by clicking here.

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About the Author

Steve Motenko is an executive coach, leadership trainer, and co-host of The Boss Show, a weekly podcast on workplace dynamics. Steve and his Boss Show co-host, Jim Hessler, are co-authors of Land On Your Feet, Not On Your Face: A Guide to Building Your Leadership Platform. Steve lives on Whidbey Island, Washington, with his wife and dog, whom he loves, and a cat he tolerates usually pretty well.

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