Business

The new rules for corporate chivalry

Chivalry in the corporate world is not dead; it’s just changing. In a generation, the rules of etiquette that once urged men to care about women have been turned upside down. It is now a level playing field, where women legitimately assert their power and independence alongside men. Now women are extending some of those ancient courtesies to their male counterparts. However, members of both sexes are sometimes offended by such behavior. How do you know which civilities are off the map? And how should you respond to chivalry in any case? Welcome to the “new label”.

Cavalry for the 21st century
21st century business etiquette no longer distinguishes between which gender should do what, for whom, and in what situations. Instead, the label of chivalry has become gender-free. Now it is a simple matter of courtesy. Whether a man helps a woman, or vice versa, depends on the situation and who needs it. For instance:

* The person who gets to the door first holds it for everyone else.
* The host, or whoever invited the others to the business lunch, pays the bill.
* If someone is struggling with their coat, give them a hand. Otherwise, allow people to put on their coats.
* A person of either gender generally appreciates an offer to help carry a heavy or uncomfortable load.
* It is still considered polite to get up to greet someone, especially in business situations where you are greeting a customer or superior. However, it is not necessary to stand every time a woman returns from making a call or going to the bathroom.
* It is no longer necessary, or even acceptable, to assume that a female business contact needs help with her chair. People of both genders who really need help often ask.

Chivalry, you better forget
Obviously, things have changed and for the better. It is much more practical to help someone based on that person’s real need, rather than offering help as a form of flattery or superiority. However, there are forms of chivalry that should be avoided. For example, some people may skew what they consider to be chivalrous behavior or they may take it to the extreme. Some types of “chivalry” to avoid include:

* Offer basic courtesies consistently to one gender but not the other.
* always having to be the one to offer the courtesy in the first place, which says to others, “Hey, look at how upright and caring I am!”
* Force your chivalry with people when they don’t want them.

How to respond to chivalry?
Maybe you don’t need or want someone else to be chivalrous. What is the proper way to respond to chivalry in this case? It helps to be understanding. Acknowledge the kindness when you see it and thank the person for the gesture. Some people are stubborn for the good, and you may have to accept it in some circumstances.

Chivalry is alive and well in the 21st century-and now it’s easier to practice than ever. Be courteous to others, but don’t overdo it. Remember, chivalry is now gender free. Keep the points listed above in mind when determining whether to act chivalrous and accept chivalrous behavior in the way it is intended. And get used to the era of the new label, because it has arrived at the workplace.

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