‘Tis the Season to be Civil

Bob Kagey

civilityI am concerned about the escalating lack of civility that surrounds us in our everyday life.

Incivility at work has many different forms. We see everything from the gossiping coworker to the intimidating bully. Then there are the supervisors who take credit for your work but never give credit and the managers who are dismissive and rude and will not listen.

These shoddy behaviors can take a heavy toll on our happiness and productivity at work.  As reported in a recent  Harvard Business Review article, the impact of incivility on employees is costly:

  • 48% report intentionally decreasing their work effort
  • 80% lost work time worrying about the event
  • 12% left their job because of the uncivil treatment
  • 25% admitted taking their frustrations out on customers

So this holiday season, I am proposing you conduct a civility audit as a way of advancing the spirit of “good will to all”.  This will require reevaluating how you interact with the people around you, particularly your coworkers.  Your mission, should you decide to accept it, will be as follows:

  1. Carefully listen and observe how others are behaving
  2. Acknowledge those kind things someone does for you, even small efforts such as offering to get a cup of coffee.
  3. Call out bad behavior by privately offering feedback to the offending person
  4. Slow your pace and practice patience with coworkers
  5. Above all, maintain a sense of humor and be slow to react with frustration

Carry your effort forward into the coming year by selecting a small act of kindness and civility that you can practice and establish as a habit in 2014.

Big gains can be made by making small changes and sometimes these improvements are amplified by others paying it forward.

Best wishes to you and your family for a peaceful, joyous and safe holiday season and a healthy 2014.

Dr. Robert Kagey, a clinical psychologist, is a co-founder of Comprehensive EAP. He has extensive experience developing innovative approaches to fostering healthy, respectful and productive work environments. He can be reached directly at bobkagey@compeap.com.