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Good manners and discipline will take you the extra mile

Published:Friday | December 16, 2016 | 12:00 AMLaura Butler

Planning and preparation play a huge role in achieving success. Good manners, a good attitude, and a serious investment in your education will help you to achieve your full potential and contribute to career success.

But there seems to be a deterioration in our values, good manners, and common courtesy, especially with the younger generation. There was a time when people greeted each other pleasantly and with respect. You would rarely find anyone that entered a room with the absence of a pleasant greeting. Hardly ever would you find a young person lacking in good manners, and if ever this happened, that person was quickly reminded by his parents or an adult. Unfortunately, in today's demanding, competitive, and fast-pace world, good manners are not as common as they once were.

This now provides an opportunity to play an active role in bringing back these fundamental values that contribute to a civilised society and which can help to build relationships and your career. It can also give you a marketing edge over your competitors as people will find it refreshing and appreciate the effort, but you will need to be consistent to show that you are genuine. This practice is recommended also because it is the correct and decent thing to do.

As youngsters build their career, here are five useful pointers that demonstrate that if you embrace good manners as a way of life, the path to success becomes that much more easy.

Have a set of values that you never part from. Have a positive attitude and demonstrate good manners and show respect in all your interactions. Surround yourself with people who are positive and progressive. Having a good mentor is also helpful, but choose wisely. The person should be qualified in your field of interest, have a good track record, demonstrate good values and principles, have accomplished a level of success, and inspire you.


Develop a strong resume


Have a clear set of goals. Seek every opportunity to improve your education and invest in ongoing training and development. Try to learn something new every day and have an updated resume ready to distribute. It should have a brief overview that puts your strong points forward and holds the attention of your potential employer. It is recommended that your resume be no more than one or two pages, with accurate, updated information, and it should speak directly to the post for which you are applying.

Having self-discipline will also help you to choose wisely as you may have to make some sacrifices as part of achieving your goals. Your career path should line up with your goals, and if not, you should be flexible and willing to change your initial career path if you find that you are better at something else or an opportunity presents itself.


Look your best at all times


Make the effort to present the best of you. We are constantly representing ourselves wherever we go, and our message is delivered in a short time. We don't always have a second chance to make a good first impression, so every effort must be made to look our best at all times.

Invest in an effective wardrobe that works for you and your career path. Have an outfit ready at a moment's notice that speaks to all categories of dress. Always have an outfit for a job interview or that unexpected work-related invitation, something sharp, professional and appropriate for cocktails, dinner, or a function. Often, we miss out on opportunities because we are not prepared or have anything to wear. Being organised saves on time, and good time management is a crucial part of professionalism.

Learn to communicate effectively. Having a good command of the English language is important. The purpose of speech is to communicate, and shared meaning must be established. How we walk, speak, write, and interact may be all a person sees of us. They all serve to send the complete message. Body language is a huge part of the message we send, so it is recommended that we synergise both the verbal and body language to send the best message. Learn to be a good listener as you will learn more.

Learn to network and build your contact list. Invest in your relationships. Learn more about people and their field of business. Keep current with local and international relations and what is happening in the social world. This will help to improve your conversational skills. Read as much as possible to keep up to date and help expand your vocabulary. Come out of your comfort zone and initiate networking opportunities. It builds your self-esteem and also is a great way to create opportunities.

- Laura Butler is a business and career development consultant with Fusion Consulting Jamaica. She serves as a consultant to some of the leading companies in Jamaica and has been a consultant to numerous leaders in the Caribbean and North America. She can be contacted at or 469-427-2007