Courtesy reflects a person’s value to us. When we treat a person with courtesy – with kindness and empathy – it shows that they matter to us.
Courtesy has two components – our own state, and the impact that that state has on anther. In terms of our own state – we need to model behaviours such as listening, summarising accurately, and being intolerant of interruptions (whether from ourselves or them); in terms of the impact, we need to be sensitive to the cultural norms of the other person. It isn’t enough to just be polite in ourselves – we have to model what being courteous to the other person would look, sound and feel like for them
For example, in Dutch culture, plain speaking and directness is a very important value and being courteous might look like a) being polite and constructive and b) matching the other person’s level of directness and seeing it, not as confrontation, but as an expression of the honesty and respect they have for you.