In Vail, Arizona speakers at a recent meeting took turns blasting school board members over masks, vaccines, and discussions of race in school. “It’s my constitutional right to be as mean to you guys as I want,” one woman said.
Flight attendants had just completed the safety briefing and were preparing for takeoff when a fight broke out between two men and a woman. “It took 20 to 30 seconds to get the male passengers away from each other as we tried to calm everyone down”.
A lack of civility resulting in disrespecting others and even violence is showing up all over the country. This is exacerbated by feeling:
- Disrespected or treated unfairly,
- Violated, threatened, or attacked,
- Frightened or physically harmed,
- Interrupted when trying to achieve a goal,
- Powerless or hopeless,
- High levels of stress or anxiety.
Social media adds fuel to the fire. People can complain about an issue and others leap to support their point of view. It’s easy to be rude to faceless individuals that one disagrees with. Perhaps that also encourages them to be more confrontational.
Rude behavior is costly for businesses. According to the American Psychological Association, workplace stress costs the US economy billions of dollars.
What can you do to promote a culture of civility in your workplace? SHRM, The Society for Human Resources Management, recommends:
- Hire people who conduct themselves with respect and good manners.
- Embody and reward the behavior you want to see.
- Interview those who have left the organization; find out why.
- Coach leaders, managers, and employees on how to be civil and respectful of others. Help them to see it as an investment in themselves.
- Hold people accountable, regardless of their level in the organization.
Building a civil culture starts with the vision of executives and senior management; they lead by example to develop how they want their company to look.
Christine Porath’s TED Talk shares powerful examples of why being respectful is good for your business. It’s fascinating and helps explain how doing small things can have a huge impact on your company culture.
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