Is a lack of workplace civility and increased unsocial behaviour and negatively impacting your culture?
According to a recent global workplace civility survey a significant number of employees (60%+) report being treated rudely on a regular basis. Increases in dismissive and demeaning behaviour at work has a significantly negative impact on your organisation’s culture.
Employees who feel their managers are insensitive, dismissive or disrespectful are more likely to identify their workplace culture as toxic.
Not only does incivility impact culture, employee retention and engagement but customer relationships too. Research demonstrates that many customers are less likely to buy from an organisation they perceive as uncivil. This disengagement often occurs regardless of whether the perceived rudeness is directed at the customer, or occurs between employees within the organisation.
As leaders we set the tone, establish employee expectations, and demonstrate what civility really means in our organisation.
Demonstrating respect and making our people feel valued, appreciated and heard increases psychological safety (Google’s Project Aristotle). Google discovered (studying over 180 active teams) that employees on teams with more psychological safety were more likely to be effective, collaborate and less likely to leave.
4 proven ways to help cultivate Workplace Civility:
1. Clarify values and expectations.
Setting expectations should begin during the interview stages of hiring. Utilise the interview as an opportunity to share your organisation’s values with potential hires, and to gauge their fit. Do they really want to work in a values based organisation? Once an employee joins your organisation, it is essential to reinforce those values through business stories, and your reward & recognition programmes.
2. Define civility for your organisation.
It is essential to engage employees in the conversation about what civility means in your organisation. These conversations help increase buy-in and empower employees to hold each other accountable for civil behaviours in the workplace. Ask participants about normal behaviours, what an ideal workplace would look like and how to hold each other accountable to these ideals. Additionally, consider whether your organisation’s policies and programmes (bonus/promotion/discipline) reward civility, or inadvertently embed unsocial behaviours.
3. Share real-world skills.
It’s not enough to just define civil behaviours, it is also necessary to give employees the tools to help them maintain composure while under pressure. Share real world examples, state management tips and how to give candid & respectful feedback. Don’t assume that everyone knows instinctively how to be civil; without the right tools and experiences civility can be a foreign concept for many.
4. Coach for civility.
When coaching employees pay attention to listening skills, giving and receiving feedback, dealing with difficult people and mindfulness skills. Negotiation, stress management and crucial conversations can also be very helpful. Don’t just tell them, ask for real-world examples of civility/incivility in their day-to-day work and be ready to hold them accountable.
One of the most crucial leadership behaviours is to effectively model the organisation’s values. No matter how much training and coaching our teams undergo we can’t expect employees to treat one another with respect, if we don’t.
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