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Show Your Appreciation by Practicing Uncommon Courtesy

There are so many ways to express appreciation...and so many reasons to do so. This month, we celebrate Administrative Professionals Week April 23-29. It's a great opportunity to thank your coworkers, staff and all the behind-the-scenes workers for all that they do. In his book, Attitude Your Internal Compass, Denis Waitley explains how showing common courtesy - and appreciating the people you work with - is a habit that should be practiced throughout the year.

"In today's workplace, it seems that the most uncommon trait shown is common courtesy. It is so easy to get caught up in office politics, cliques, interdepartmental turf wars, and, of course, the usual trashing of the boss and complaining about demanding customers. You may think that this is all innocent and just a way to let off steam. The reality is that if you do not show common courtesy within your organization, you will never display common courtesy to the clients who keep you in business. Customers today demand extraordinary service. The difference between you and the competition, in many cases, is simply courtesy and service.

Check your courtesy quotient in regard to your interaction with co-workers, management, employees, and customers. Start by extending common courtesy to everyone you interact with. Then, once you have done that, begin to explore ways to provide uncommon courtesy and service. You will find that the key to uncommon success is found in common places like courtesy.

Making assumptions about others can be fatal vision; there will always be those who appear undeserving of our attention and respect. Practitioners of uncommon courtesy make no distinction between worthy and unworthy customers, employees, and co-workers.

Here's a perfect example of how courtesy really counts:

John Barrier showed up at the bank in grubby work clothes. He parked in the bank parking lot and popped in to see his broker and cash a check. He finished his business and returned to his truck. The young man working in the parking lot informed him that there was a small parking fee, but Mr. Barrier could take his slip back into the bank and get it validated if he wished.

He went inside and asked the teller to validate his ticket. The teller looked at the shabbily-dressed man in front of her and refused. She informed him that he had to make a transaction to receive a validation. When Mr. Barrier said he had cashed a check, the teller said that cashing a check was not considered a transaction. Mr. Barrier then asked to see the bank manager. The manager also refused.

Mr. Barrier said that was not a problem, but if that was the courtesy they chose to extend to a client of over 30 years, that he would like to close out his account. Imagine the size of the pit in the manager's stomach as he pulled up the account information to find that Mr. Barrier's account was worth well over one million dollars. Mr. Barrier took his funds, walked them down the street, and deposited them into Seattle First Bank.

Whether someone has one dollar or a million dollars, whether they are in a shirt and tie or grubby clothes, they deserve uncommon courtesy."