Manners both great and small

Manners both great and small


“Manners maketh man…” (1300) or so William of Wykeham, the Bishop of Winchester & Chancellor of England (1324 – 1404) told our forebears.

Manners make such a difference in the work place, and aid occupational health and safety (OH&S) for staff, students, patients, clients and customers. According to the website “For the 700 years since English bishop and chancellor, William of Wykeham, first famously declared, “Manners Maketh Man”, manners have set the standard for human behaviour and helped formed the foundation for personal and professional success.”  That website believes that  “manners maketh the child” (2016).

The Children’s National Guild of Courtesy established in Queensland provided a ‘Good Manners’ chart which was issued to Queensland schools between 1898 and the 1960s. The chart details the use of manners in regards to a pupil’s own behaviour (‘as to themselves’), as well as when in the home, at school, at play, in the street, at the table, and their conduct in life in general.

The gist of the Good Manners guide is based on one GOLDEN RULE: ‘Always do unto others as you would wish them to do to you if you were in their place’. It then suggests: ‘Do what your conscience tells you is right’.

How does this play out? Imagine if you don’t experience good manners when you feel at your most vulnerable. For example, when you expect professionals to respect your right to patient safety.

If you’ve ever checked in to a hospital and been subjected to the rounds of prodding, poking and testing by nurses, diagnostic technicians and doctors – you’ll know how important civility and courteous behaviour is in the workplace. Good manners impacts on everyone in the building.

Some people Need a Mum to help them through vulnerable moments…

In terms of conduct in the workplace, whether in the library, hospital, doctor’s waiting room or taxi rank, sitting in a waiting room can be tedious. But remember: Do not eavesdrop on conversations. Eavesdrop and butting into other people’s conversations is rude and anti-social.

For the clerically minded behind the desk, there is a timely reminder about access to personal information: Do not copy other people’s contact details into your mobile phone or onto a form without permission.  There are confidentiality matters to address if you do this without the other person’s permission.

These are very simple rules to keep you out of trouble with other people … and to keep them out of trouble with you.

In my view, the Good Manners Guide says it so easily: Always mind your own business.

Text copyright Fiona Rothchilds 2016.
Uploaded 11 June 2016; updated 25 June 2016.

‘Good Manners Guide’, Education Views, Volume 18.01, February 2009,
‘Mind Your Manners’, MindFood, October 2010.

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