Leadership etiquette: the key to great relationships

As we move into the second half of the year, it’s always good to take a break to reflect and consider your learnings from the first half and how you’ll move forward towards success. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing recently, enjoying some time in Thailand. While I’ve been getting lots of relaxation in, I’ve also been observing the business and cultural etiquette of this country

Every culture has rules and expectations for meeting new people and doing business, though some hold these rules in higher regard than others. In Thailand, for example, as in many countries across the Asia Pacific region, business cards are treated with a lot of respect, offered and received with both hands and always complimented highly. 

In Australia, we might treat business cards more casually, but we have our own etiquette all the same – and we’d do well to know the etiquette of some of our closest global neighbours! 

Wherever you are in the world, there are things you can be doing to start off on the right foot – whether it’s with your customers, fellow leaders or with those in your team. 

Get your greeting right  – Handshakes used to be the norm before the pandemic saw them phased out in favour of an elbow bump or nothing at all. It’s time to consider how you’re greeting people professionally – is it a handshake? Is it your business card? Is it sharing your LinkedIn details? Whatever it is, think about the way in which you do that to make it intentional, polite and impressionable. Greetings are important if you want to kick off a good relationship with anyone. 

Be punctual – Being respectful of other people’s time is important. Finishing meetings on time is just as important as starting on time. Ensure you’re running your calendar efficiently so that meetings aren’t running back to back, opening you up to the risk of one meeting running late and having an impact on the rest of your day. 

Follow through – If you tell your team or your manager that you are going to do something, then you’ve got to follow through and do it. Leaders have to walk the talk. If you don’t, you’re in danger of losing the trust of your team. The bottom line is that if you expect your team to follow through, you need to set the example at the top level. 

No surprises – No one likes to be surprised. Teams shouldn’t be surprised by decisions that leaders make or by changes they weren’t informed about. Leaders should be keeping their team in the loop – if there’s something they need to know, they should hear it from their leader first. 

Be ready to work – In the world of remote working, many people are opting to work in their casual clothes. There’s no denying it’s comfortable but it doesn’t always invite the right frame of mind to work. Dressing formally might not be necessary if you’re fronting up to a Zoom call, but looking presentable and ready to work is a sign of respect for your team and your peers. 

Relationships are at the heart of leadership

Business etiquette has been transformed over the last couple of years, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not important. Meeting the expectations others have for us is an important building block of strong relationships and the reality is that relationships are crucial in business. 

If you want to get anything done, you rely on relationships. To build those relationships, we all need to demonstrate really good relationship-building skills and etiquette. 

Want to know how to build great relationships through your leadership? People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit www.pmtd.com.au or call us on 0412 333 415. Try our online leadership training videos – $99 for complete access. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.