Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Say Hello And Goodbye

Hello and Goodbye are both important at work!Whether you are a manager, supervisor or member of a work team, make it a habit to connect with others when you arrive and leave–and in between times too.  There may be times when you must rush in or rush out (or when you want to slip in the door and slip out without being seen) but limit those times and don’t let them be the norm. Be part of your work group and let your presence and absence have significance.

Be brief:  A greeting at the beginning of work and a farewell before leaving only requires a few friendly words. During the work period, when you come into a work areas, say hello or give a friendly smile or nod of the head, according to the work being done. The idea is to be courteous–and it is discourteous or at least uncivil to not acknowledge those with whom you work.

You should not engage each person in lengthy conversation, interrupt their activities or require more response than they wish to offer. I mention that because I know many people who prefer to hunker down with work, so a very brief greeting is all that is welcome.  The brightly smiling coworker who wants to spread good cheer every morning is dreaded and resented, not appreciated!

Be friendly: An unsmiling face makes a greeting or farewell seem robotic and insincere. You don’t have to grin or act insincerely friendly, just smile slightly and make eye contact as you say hello or goodbye.

Be personal: It’s possible to say hello and goodbye to an entire office or group-and some work settings make that more logical than stopping at each work space. However, even then, try to make eye contact with everyone and don’t exclude anyone. Don’t play favorites and especially don’t exclude anyone with whom you may have conflicts. Present yourself to that person and others as open and friendly in spite of disagreements.

Be positive: Work is tough enough without greetings and farewells that sound as though you are in a hell-hole of misery and tomorrow will be more of the same!  Everything that seems so troubling or stressful will soon fade into distant memory, so keep that perspective for yourself and share it through your positive facial expressions and words. Keep the approach that with everyone’s best efforts, your group can achieve anything. During the day, if you are busy and preoccupied, it takes no more energy to smile and say hello than it does to sigh heavily and sigh “hullo” as though the weight of the world is on you!

Be appreciative: The value of appreciation is two-fold: You have to develop the habit of noticing things for which you should be appreciative, and you reinforce the good actions of others when you thank them or share your appreciation with them.

Thank people for helping you during the day. If you are a manager, thank employees for things they may not have realized you noticed. Thank your supervisor or manager for his or her assistance. If you see someone who helped your work group, thank him or her as you are leaving. No one resents a thank you!

Be purposeful: Not long ago I was present when a manager was leaving work and said to the employees in his area, “Thank you all for your work today! Have a good evening and I’ll see you tomorrow!” The employees all looked up briefly, smiled and said goodnight.

The employee who was helping me said, “He is so nice. He says goodbye every night. One night he left in a hurry and called back so he could say goodnight to us!”  The employee was still smiling as she continued her work, which multiplied the positive effects of that brief farewell.

A manager in a police dispatch area told me she often walked through the area and stopped briefly at several consoles to see what was going on, but didn’t say anything for fear of being disruptive. Finally, one of the communications officers told her it was unnerving to have her walk by and look but not say anything at all. She resolved it by telling everyone that she was checking work as part of her job but in the future she would smile and at least nod when she did it! She said she felt a bit obvious at first, but got over that and could see the dispatchers appreciated her efforts.

Say hello and goodbye every work day. You will never regret it and you will find it to be a great way to add to the spirit of camaraderie and your own influence and relationships.

November 7th, 2009 Posted by | Personal and Professional Development, Service to Customers, Clients and Coworkers, Supervision and Management | 9 comments


  1. Ha! Today Phyllis called me to apologize for not saying hello and goodbye. She told me to read your post, so now I know what she was talking about!!! I think it’s a great idea though because usually we just look up and the supervisors and director are gone. She’s a great boss, so that isn’t a big deal to anyone. 🙂

    Comment by denisek | November 8, 2009

  2. This is something I’m going to commit to doing every day. Thanks for the reminder. Joe S. nearly always walks down the hall to say hello and has also often told me thanks for something I’ve done or the group has done during the shift, and I always appreciated it. So, I have a good role model, I just haven’t done it for some reason. I will now!

    Comment by P.A.H. | November 8, 2009

  3. Ms. Rowe, I came to your site because of a workplace question you answered for me. Thank you for your help. I wanted to say about this article that I 150% agree. I work in a big room with about fifty cubicles. My managers sit in a raised glassed-in area at the end of the room and the only time you hear from them is if you’re in trouble.

    One of them, a woman, is usually nice enough if you talk to her first, but the other two are men and they don’t talk to anyone except each other and the boss. I’ve worked here eight months and they have never spoken to me except once when one of them yelled for someone to refill the candy dispenser! I would love to work someplace where the supervisor talked to me as if I was a human who had some value. If they would just say hello or goodbye it would mean a lot. Thanks for letting me vent! V.

    Comment by V. G. | November 9, 2009

  4. The only problem with my boss saying a friendly hello, which he always does, is that he realizes I’m not there or I’m reading the paper. He says goodbye to each and every mother’s son of us too, which means he knows if I’ve left already or if I’m reading the paper. I wonder if he’s doing that just to be friendly or if he has an ulterior motive?

    Comment by wiseacre | November 11, 2009

  5. Tina says: Thanks for the comments! I’ve written an email to each of you and I appreciate your faithful reading and commenting! It motivates me!

    Comment by TLR | November 11, 2009

  6. Tina, you are so awesome! Thank you for reminding us to pay attention to the simple things. One of the sergeants at work always enters dispatch with a cheery “hello, team!” It’s a practice I’ve chosen to adopt as it sets the stage for a good atmosphere and underscores what we are: a team.

    Comment by Jennifer | November 12, 2009

  7. I’ve noticed that employees and managers feel differently about work when they extend these courtesies of saying hello and goodbye, so I appreciated these thoughts.

    I’d like to request a topic….you mentioned in the One-on-One training class about “welcomed interruptions”. Could you put that in an article? I want to mention it in a training session but would like to be able to reference something in print. Thanks very much. F.L.

    Comment by Rocketeer | November 12, 2009

  8. Tina says:

    Jennifer, I can hear you saying hello! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Rocketeer, I’ll write something about that topic in the next week or so and send you a copy. Thanks for reading and commenting. T.

    Comment by TLR | November 12, 2009

  9. I consciously made the effort to say goodbye and thanks to the small group in my office every day this week. Someone commented on how thoughtful I was to do it! I was stricken with sorrow and guilt that such a basic courtesy was viewed as unusual. D.

    Comment by Don R. | November 18, 2009

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