The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

MLDP Recap:“Not Just Dressing for Success: Courtesy, Respect, and Professional Behavior” with James Burger

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This ongoing series explores sessions of the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) through participant narratives. MLDP is a one-term program designed to develop citizen leaders among sophomores, juniors, and seniors at Dartmouth College. Led by expert guest speakers each week, sessions employ experiential teaching techniques to engage students through hands-on learning of core management and leadership skills.


MLDP participants learn how business etiquette and professionalism must be practiced in the work place 

Business etiquette and professionalism must be practiced within the workplace, according to James Burger, Human Resources Communications Manager, who served as the facilitator during the May 25 MLDP session. Burger drew from his experiences in human resources to inform students how to be more professional and more active and efficient at work.

In all jobs, Burger asserted, employers look for core competencies and evaluate employees on a multitude of performance criteria, including job/technical knowledge, quality of work, productivity, timeliness, and attention to detail. "Teamwork and collaboration will go with any kind of job," Burger said.

Students were asked to discuss pet peeves they discovered while working in various jobs and internships. Once shared aloud, popular responses included: "gossip," "the inability to meet deadlines," and "poor communications." Burger reiterated these student claims, citing that in a nationwide survey, 60 percent of those interviewed citing gossip as a particular annoyance while 54 percent of people said that a lack of time management skills was also a huge problem.

Burger also advised students to respect diversity within the workplace, and had students practice dealing with awkward work situations involving conflicting religious beliefs and inappropriate language. Burger also taught MLDP participants about the physical aspects of professionalism. "If you come in every morning and act negative and de-energized, it is noticed," Burger said.

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