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Civility in the Workplace

Civility in the Workplace

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Civility in the Workplace

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  1. Civility in the Workplace

  2. What is Workplace Incivility? Behaviors with ambiguous intent to harm the target, in violation of workplace norms for mutual respect. Uncivil behaviors are characteristically rude and discourteous, displaying a lack of regard for others.

  3. Why should you care about civility?

  4. The Incivility Continuum • Negative Behavior • Rude comments • Insensitive actions • Unintentional slights • Complaining • Gossip/rumors • Cultural bias • Crude jokes • Profanity • Verbal Aggression • Yelling / loud voice • Belittling comments • Intimidation / threats • Discriminatory comments • Cursing at someone • Humiliation • Physical/Sexual Aggression • Assault / Battery • Throwing objects • Violent outbursts (e.g., hitting the wall) • Inappropriate touching • Harrassment

  5. Why Choose to be Civil? • One person can have a positive impact on the work environment • Improved Morale • Improved Productivity • Improved Teamwork • Being nice feels good • 83% of workers report that it is “very important” to work in a civil environment (Baltimore Workplace Study, 2003)

  6. The Incivility Spiral (adapted from Andersson & Pearson, 1999) “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” --Mahatma Gandhi

  7. Contributors to Incivility • Long hours / overwork • “Hot” temperament • Workplace stress • Inflexibility • Passive aggression • Hurt feelings • Intolerance of individual differences • Being in a protected position or position of authority

  8. The Costs of Incivility • Lost work time and productivity • Lost employees / high turnover • Decrease in feelings of teamwork • Work avoidance • Lowered job motivation • Health costs due to stress • Legal costs due to litigation • Incivility to customers / clients

  9. Human Needs Affecting Interpersonal Interactions • Power • Approval • Inclusion • Justice • Identity

  10. Communicating Civility • Remember pleasantries • No interrupting • Be open-minded • Say what you mean • Be aware of your tone and volume • Don’t argue for the sake of arguing / PICK YOUR BATTLES • Be respectful, even in disagreement

  11. Communicating Civility (cont.) • Address conflicts in private when possible • Be aware of your own defensiveness • Depersonalize your comments • Avoid accusations / ask questions instead • Allow others to respond and give them your attention • Consider that you could be wrong • Use active listening skills

  12. Watch Your Language!

  13. Words that Promote Conflict • “You must…” • “You lied to me” • “This is so typical of you…” • “You always / you never” • “The problem is…” • “If you don’t do this, then…” • “You’ll never change” • “You’re being hysterical”

  14. The Iceberg of Conflict

  15. Questions to Take You Below the Surface • Can you tell me what bothered you about what I did? • What is the most important thing to you in solving this problem? • Would you be willing to start again right now and do it differently? • What would it take for you to let go of this conflict and feel that the issue has been completely resolved?

  16. The Art of Active Listening • Listen to your co-workers with the same basic courtesies you extend to customers • No interrupting • Reflect back understanding of views • Ask clarifying questions • Really listen, don’t prepare your rebuttal until you have HEARD the other person • Use of “I” statements

  17. Clearing the A-I-R From Workplace Wars

  18. Civility in Emails • Don’t ignore emails • Is your point better communicated in person? • Have a trusted colleague review before sending • Keep emails to the point • Don’t forget pleasantries • Be aware of tone

  19. Civil Behavior • Be on time for meetings • Do not do unrelated work in meetings • Watch your body language • Apologize when you are in the wrong • Respect co-worker’s “stuff” (e.g., food in the refrigerator) • Positive reinforcement

  20. Responding to Incivility • Have healthy boundaries • Avoid escalation • Stay away from the low road • Vent your frustration

  21. Dealing with Bullies • Approach bully, then next line supervisor if necessary • Document and seek assistance from leadership early • Leaders must take bullying seriously and intervene Source: Bullying at Work Report (2005) at www.cipd.co.uk

  22. A Culture of Civility • Have a cooperative approach • Be aware of underlying needs • Recognize individual differences • Be open to adapting position • Leaders model civility for others • Clearly define expectations for how employees treat each other • Reward civil behavior • Encourage stress management

  23. The Caveats • Being civil does not mean: • “Rolling over and playing dead” • Being someone you are not • Avoiding conflict when it is necessary • Pretending to be nice, then stabbing someone in the back • Giving up your rights to file complaints or seek assistance in dealing with difficult people at work

  24. Final Thoughts • Don’t wait for someone to be nice to you, and avoid “keeping score” • Don’t be afraid to put yourself in Time Out, so you can cool off before expressing yourself • Consider letting some things slide, especially slights that you know to be unintentional “You must be the change you want to see in the world” --Mahatma Gandhi

  25. Helpful References • Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct (2002) by P.M. Forni • Conflict Resolution (2001) by Daniel Dana • People Styles at Work (1996) by Robert Bolton & Dorothy Grover Bolton • Resolving Conflicts at Work (2005) by Kenneth Cloke & Joan Goldsmith • Rude Awakenings: Overcoming the Civility Crisis in the Workplace (2002) by Giovinella Gonthier • Workplace Wars and How to End Them (1994) by Kenneth Kaye