There probably isn’t a person in Cincinnati that didn’t see the epic fail in common courtesy that took place at the recent Saints-Bengals game. Let me paint the picture: Jermaine Gresham of the Cincinnati Bengals had just scored a touchdown at the Saints Stadium. Although there were very few Bengals fans in the Saints stadium, there was one very excited fan in the end zone seating. Jermaine instantly locked eyes with her and gave her the game ball. However, when she reached down to receive her gift, the Saints fan intercepted the ball with a well-placed elbow shove.
Shocked, the fan pleaded with him to give her the ball. The pleas were met with deaf ears as he refused to give up his stolen prize. Later, the Saints found her in the stadium and gifted her with another ball— but the damage had already been done. As you can imagine, the story has received plenty of media attention
What possessed this grown man to pull such a stunt? Why would a Saints fan even want the touchdown ball? More importantly, where did all of our common courtesy go?
I’m sure most of you can name a time when you’ve experienced a lack of common courtesy in the workplace. Maybe it came in the form of a rude email from a colleague. Or maybe it was a supervisor that sat through your entire presentation while checking their phone for emails. Never mind that you stayed up all night to complete this project. It could be that a co-worker begged you to take on their work and then neglected to appreciate your help appropriately.
I’m going to imagine that whatever the experience, it didn’t feel good. You felt hurt, angry, frustrated, discouraged or possibly a combination of all of these. How could behavior like this happen in your organization? Well, maybe it all starts with you. Your ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is key to becoming adept at the niceties of life. The truth is that we’re all guilty of forgetting our manners now and then.
In the best of organizations, you will eventually come across an experience like the ones described above. It’s almost impossible to avoid these types of interactions. The organization’s culture dictates the level of impoliteness that you come across in the workplace. Your leadership behavior dictates what is accepted and not accepted within the organization.
So I ask you to take a good clear look at yourself. Do you take your leadership role seriously? If so, you must be honest about your interactions with others. It’s imperative that you step back and give thought to your own lapses in courtesy in your relationships— because I’m pretty certain there’s a few.
Resilient leaders are proven during tough times and there are plenty of tough times in today’s world. Your success is dependent upon your ability to rise above the chaos and stress, handling challenges with strength while treating others with grace and respect.
It all begins and ends with how you treat others.