Boost Civility in the Workplace!

Whatever the causes, the drop in civility is troubling.   Pier Forni, creator of the Johns Hopkins University Civility Project, has found that “Acts of violence are often the result of an exchange of acts of rudeness that spiral out of control.”

It’s not about avoiding conflict when necessary or about simply “pretending to be nice.” The Johns Hopkins Civility Project suggests it’s about three things — respect, restraint and consideration.  When we treat people with kindness and consideration, we show them that we value them as human beings, not just human doings. It’s what builds connection.  But good relationships don’t just happen overnight. Trust and credibility need to be earned.

To boost civility in your workplace relationships:

  • Keep the person in mind. Take time to get to know your co-workers. Few gifts are greater than feeling known and understood.
  • Be respectful, even in disagreement – or particularly in disagreement! It’s not the amount of conflict or disagreement, but how it is handled.
  • Edit yourself – avoid saying every critical thought when talking about sensitive issues.
  • Be aware of your own “hot buttons” and defensiveness. Self- awareness allows you to anticipate and manage your reactions.
  • Choose your issues wisely. Don’t argue simply for the sake of arguing. Stepping back and looking at the big picture gives a better perspective of the issues that really matter.

Don’t wait for someone to be nice to you. To quote Gandhi: be the change you want to see. One person can have a positive impact.

About Kathie Must

Kathie Must is the Director of Workplace Programs at Mosaic Counselling & Family Services. Mosaic has provided Employee Assistance Programs to regional firms for over 25 years. Mosaic provides EAP and consulting services to organizations in every sector, from 10 employees to over 2500, and with divisions anywhere across Canada and the USA. In December 2009, Mosaic launched www.mosaiceap.ca, a new membership-based, interactive web portal to help business leaders deal effectively and proactively with the impact of mental health issues in the workplace. Leaders benefit from information, tools, resources and forums that will help them manage people issues. In addition, the portal provides a wealth of personal and wellness resources for employees, dealing with topics such as anxiety, depression, effective communication, and conflict in the workplace.Kathie's background is in human resources and business management. She is joined by a team of outstanding clinical, research and communications people. Kathie will bring the breadth and depth of the team's experience to this blog. Mosaic is focused on assisting leaders build healthy, resilient and productive workplaces. Mosaic is a professional counselling agency that has been in the business of helping people find solutions to a diverse range of social, emotional and financial problems since 1952. Mosaic understands the many problems that employees bring to the workplace, and the additional challenges that leaders face in managing the workforce today -- and how critical a reslient workforce is in the manufacturing sector. Mosaic is also known as a community innovator and home of many exciting community projects, including the successul Family Violence Project and Pathways to Education.

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