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The Commandments of Workplace Ethics

Updated on January 28, 2018

Continue reading for a special article on a spiritual guide on how exceed expectations in the workplace by guest writer, Danielle Hall.

Basic Etiquette

According to the Bible, The Ten Commandments are described as divine rules of conduct given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 20:1-17). This article is being written as rules of conduct to show how to behave in the workplace. Etiquette refers to behaving in a socially responsible way. The attention to etiquette is a sign of professionalism and respect for others, and it can create a positive first impression while building trust among colleagues. At the end of this training employees should know how to behave at the workplace, the difference between personal and professional life and how to be disciplined at the workplace.

When business partners and co-workers adhere to a well-understood code of etiquette, it can be easier for diverse individuals to work together, focusing their energies on the task at hand rather than trying to understand the cultural peculiarities of others. Corporate etiquette encompasses a range of factors: Verbal and non-verbal communication are a large part of etiquette; communication styles, taboo topics and preferred speaking distances vary by culture.

This piece is based on my opinion and research of the 10 commandments throughout my life. As a Christian I believe in the 10 commandments and I believe they can be applied in all areas of our life including the workplace. With 20 plus years working in a corporate setting I can shed some light on workplace etiquette and its importance.

Hygiene is Important

Now when the turn of each young lady came to go in to King Ahasuerus, after the end of her twelve months under the regulations for the women--for the days of their beautification were completed as follows: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and the cosmetics for women. (Esther 2:12)

Even in biblical times before ladies came to see the king they prepared months in advance with fragrances and cosmetics to be chosen as a wife. Now I don’t mean to say women prepare yourself to be chosen as a wife when you go to work and interview with your new boss, but I am saying that hygiene is important in the workplace. The interview is the chance to make a first impression and combed hair and fresh breath would be a great benefit during the interview and on the job. This verse is not just for woman, but also men should keep themselves kept up in the workplace. You must think of it this way; would you want to sit next to someone with an odor all day and work alongside them? If you answered no then this ought to make you understand the importance of hygiene.

Dress the Part

Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon; and when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came to Pharaoh. (Genesis 41:14).

The industry is the national level while the company is the local level. Your company has local guidelines regarding the dress code that you should adhere to. Dressing for success has many meanings and you only get one chance to make a first impression. Companies set a standard at the beginning of hire on what to wear and what not to wear in the work place. This usually is found in the company employee handbook.

According to an article in the Management Study Guide (2017) Follow a professional dress code. Make sure you feel comfortable in whatever you wear. It’s not always necessary to wear expensive clothing rather wear something which looks good on you. Choose professional colors like black, blue, brown, grey for official attire.

You must dress for the occasion. If you follow the employee handbook of your company dressing for success will not be an issue. Every company has their own guidelines on what the employee should wear on the job. Office attire is an effective way to go if you are just starting off at a company but times have changed and many companies have gotten away from specific colors and stressed cleanliness of clothing and hygiene. Hair also has a place as part of the clothing etiquette, neatly combed hair is very professional, but again all this depends on what type of industry your work for.

Team Work

And because he was of the same occupation, he stayed with them; and they worked together for they were tentmakers by trade. (Acts 18:3).

I truly believe that team work makes the dream work. I have worked in corporate about 25 years and team collaborations have always stood out for me. Starting off in corporate back in my 20s I didn’t want to work with the team I really just wanted to do my job and go home. I began to realize though that I did not make up the company just by myself and that at the end of the day we are all working for one purpose, and that is to support and see the corporation we work for grow. There are some jobs I have worked on that started off powerful and then fell by the wayside with layoffs and continual turnovers.

Be Humble

Do not claim honor in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of great men; For it is better that it be said to you, "Come up here," Than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince, Whom your eyes have seen. (Proverbs 25:6-7)

Over my career I have noticed previous colleagues 1) throw their weight around because they have seniority, 2) throw their weight around because of their title, 3) throw their weight around because they work with a close friend or family member. These things don’t define you because the quicker you got that position the quicker it can be taken away from you. In my opinion being a leader is not based on your title it’s based on the way you motivate and inspire people to engage in the vision you created to inspire their future.

Don’t Gossip

A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much. (Proverbs 20:19).)

Sounds a little harsh right? Wrong. One thing I don’t do at work is meddle in other people’s business because I don’t want them in my business. Don’t get me wrong there will be people you meet on the job that you connect with and possibly form a friendship with and then there will be others that you just work with and that’s ok. I believe that personal and business matters should be separate. Sometimes when you bring your personal business to work and talk to everyone about it, then it’s your fault that they are gossiping. I talk to few people about my personal life and I am also very selective what I tell people about my personal life.

On the other hand we spend most of our day at work communicating with our colleagues so we should form a relationship, but it does not have to be a personal connection with everyone in the workplace because everyone does not have your best interest. Relationships at work are bound to happen I suggest you keep it professional at all times because you reflect the company and what they stand for. Also be careful what you say about your company or boss to other colleagues because they might turn around and flip on you and throw you under the bus.

Be Organized

But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner. (1 Corinthians 14:40 )

Being organized is important in the workplace because it shows professionalism. I am pretty organized for the most part at the work place, I have a spot for everything that I use. It is also important to be organized in case you are out of the office and someone needs to find something you have been working on at your desk. If your area is organized then you can easily point them to that particular object or report while you are out of the office. Being organized is not just for office workers this can pertain to all industries of work whether manufacturing, retail or healthcare just to name a few.

Have a Positive Attitude

But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. (Jude 1:10)

Our attitude effects our behavior, our communication and ultimately our success on the job. Constructive work habits, behaviors and attitudes enhance our ability to get along with others in the workplace. Conversely, negative work habits, behaviors and attitudes adversely affect the workplace and the home environment. There will be times that you don’t want to accept the constructive criticism of your boss, manager and or supervisor which ever you choose to call them, but your response gives off a negative attitude. There are many times at work when I want to disagree with what is being told to me, but at the end of the day it is my job to listen and learn. There are effective ways to interact with co-workers. Your attitude and behavior can affect not only your work production but the work production of others. Etiquette helps an individual be different and stand apart. An individual cannot behave at the office the same way they behave at home. Also personal matters should not come to the office, just like business matters should not go home.

Have Patience

He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly. (Proverbs 14:29 )

Patience is so important in the workplace because there will be times when you want the work load to move fast or you want your manager to choose you for a task. Everyone has their time to shine and stand out, while you are waiting keep doing your job to the best of your abilities because your talents will make room for you in the future.

Have Self-Control

Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit. (Proverbs 25:28 )

Self-control is so important in the workplace because sometimes your ego can take the lead and lead you right out of a job. You don’t want to be known as the coworker that is hard to get along with or the coworker who snaps out when situations don’t go their way. You have to weigh your options and pick and choose battles that are worth fighting for. I am not saying not to speak if you see an issue at work, but there is a time and place for discussions on these matters.

Be Willing To Learn

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. (Psalm 32:8 )

Be willing to learn is very important in the workplace. When you are hired for a job there might be tasks that are unfamiliar to you and you could possibly need training on the other hand you might be hired to train others. In any case you still have to learn what is being trained and the trainer has to learn about the task they will be training the other worker on. You will always learn something whether it is at work or even at home. Employers like it when a coworker is willing to learn a new task because that works not only in your favor but their favor as well. Remember earlier in the chapter when I talked about being patient, well patience will pay off as you continue to learn more about your job and it could lead to a promotion. Ask your employer about trainings that can enhance your job duties and help you grow not only in the company but also develop your skills.

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    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      21 months ago from The Caribbean

      These "commandments" are appropriate for all times. The Bible is current and useful, after all.

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