Modern Etiquette: Handling the politics of business

(Pamela Eyring is the president of The Protocol School ofWashington (PSOW), which provides professional businessetiquette and international protocol training. Founded in 1988,PSOW is the only school of its kind in the U.S. to becomeaccredited. Any opinions expressed are her own. PSOW's websiteis: .)

WASHINGTON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - After an exceedingly bitterelection in 1800, a victorious Thomas Jefferson sought to healsome rather raw wounds between the two warring parties.

During his first inaugural address, he uttered the nowfamous line, "We are all republicans; we are all federalists."

More than two centuries later, the United States remainsdivided by red states, blue states, and those in between.Around this time each election year, even ordinary citizenscatch political fever and divide themselves into opposing camps.

In business, just like politics, people are often divided -whether it's a cultural divide, a line drawn between teams in anorganization, or the divide between boss and employee.

Here are a few simple rules that all of us can adopt toensure that we display a sense of decorum and civility in theworkplace.

Agree to Disagree.

While the U.S. Constitution allows for freedom of speech,our own sense of civility should always drive the businessconversation. Always debate issues strictly on the merits andnever resort to personal attacks on another person. And, if youboth hit a brick wall and can't agree, then agree to disagree.

Just the Facts.

Always stick to the facts of an issue and try to understandthe other person's point of view. If you cannot reach aresolution, simply accept that you believe in different things.

Keep Your Cool.

If your blood starts to boil and you feel your pressurestart to rise, just walk away before a confrontation turns uglyand you find yourself in a situation you can't mend.

Yelling is not an Option.

Raising your voice to make a point is a sign you are out ofcontrol, too emotional, or worse -you are unstable. Plus, youaccomplish nothing.

Body Language Speaks Volumes.

When you're angry it can show in your body language or toneand that's no better than showing anger verbally. When you findyourself in a frustrating situation, adopt the British credoduring World War Two: "Keep calm and carry on."

Election Day is but one day on the Calendar.

At some point the speeches subside, the winning candidatetakes office, and he or she is left to pull factions togetherand govern. Likewise, you will return to your normal routine andwill work with people with whom you disagreed, or with theircolleagues.

Etiquette, whether it is business etiquette or the etiquetteof running a political campaign, is defined as "the customs orrules governing behavior regarded as correct or acceptable."

The next time you're about to get angry with someone youwork with ask yourself, "will my behavior be viewed as correct?"Will my behavior be viewed as acceptable"?

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

((paul.casciato@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 9787;))