This article is inspired by World Civility Day, which is today, April 12, 2018.

Respect, it’s what you want, right? However, according to Christine Porath, an associate professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and author of Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace, 62 percent of employees indicated they were treated rudely at work at least once a month.

So, chances are some of your leaders and employees are being disrespectful, impolite or dismissive to one another. On top of the emotional toll, all that rude behavior can have a costly impact on your organization, including higher turnover, more absenteeism and lower productivity.

Being uncivil in the workplace can happen without you even realizing it – missing or being late to a meeting, not respecting someone’s time or opinions, or expecting something without asking politely.  Whatever the reason, there is no excuse for treating people with lack of respect and professionalism.

Here are some practical tips to build civility in your workplace.

Build the Behaviors for Civility

Develop behaviors that will result in respect, trust and dignity in your workplace. For example:

  • Proactively build healthy relationships so you understand others’ motivations and goals
  • Be inclusive and allow time for each person to express his/her perspective without judgment
  • Listen intently, beyond the words, and ask open-ended questions to understand intent
  • Be transparent with items you agree or disagree with
  • Ensure your policies and programs reflect, support and reward those behaviors

Model the Behaviors

Model the civil behaviors you want to see in your work environment. This may mean taking a closer look at how you react in certain situations and making changes to become a more compassionate and civil leader. Take time to reflect upon your natural tendencies:

  • How do you react under stress?
  • What are your hot buttons?
  • What signals does your body give you during times of choice?

In addition, ask for feedback to learn how you are coming across to others. Listen to that feedback and act to improve.

Coach, Train and Coach Some More

Ensure your leaders become your civility champions and hold them accountable. It’s critical that your leadership team is aligned with, practices and coaches on civil behaviors.

From your CEO to your newest hire, everyone can benefit from further development:

  • Offer classes on skills such as listening, giving feedback and anger or stress management, and reinforce how to incorporate these tools into employees’ day-to-day work life
  • Encourage employees to consider the impact of their words and actions on others before they act, including sending e-mails, texts or voicemail messages

Demonstrating civility involves respecting the needs of every individual in your organization, while continuing to openly address and leverage differences of opinion. If practiced, it can result in a creative, productive and positive environment. Think of it this way – it can be as easy as practicing good manners – being thoughtful, courteous and polite. Remember, all you’re asking for is a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

For more information, contact  Verve Consulting Group to design and deliver leadership and employee programs to help build civility in your workplace.

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