Incivility In The Workplace


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Incivility In The Workplace

  1. 1. Incivility The Quiet Workplace Crisis
  2. 2. What is Workplace Incivility? <ul><li>Behavior that violates workplace norms for mutual respect in such a way that cooperation and motivation are reduced </li></ul><ul><li>Behavior can be “under the radar” and difficult to detect </li></ul>
  3. 3. “ Assessing and Attacking Workplace Incivility,” Organizational Dynamics 29, no.2, 2000 , Lynne Anderson, Christine Pearson and Christine Porath. Affects of Incivility <ul><li>22% of employees had intentionally decreased work efforts </li></ul><ul><li>10% had called in sick to avoid the instigator </li></ul><ul><li>28% lost productivity because they spent time at work avoiding the instigator </li></ul><ul><li>37% reduced their commitment to the organization </li></ul><ul><li>12% had actually quit organizations </li></ul>
  4. 4. Incivility Is Often Ambiguous <ul><li>The intent to harm may not be clear </li></ul><ul><li>The instigator often pretends innocence or claims that the injured party misunderstood or is too sensitive </li></ul>
  5. 5. Incivility Is Often Not Reported <ul><li>Employees fear reprisals or damage to their careers </li></ul><ul><li>In exit interviews, incivility may not be mentioned by departing employees because they don’t want to affect future references or may blame themselves for not being able to “take it” </li></ul>
  6. 6. Sometimes, of course, it’s obvious!
  7. 7. “ An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” — Mahatma Gandhi — The Incivility Spiral (adapted from Andersson & Pearson, 1999) Uncivil Behavior Perception of Unfairness Negative Feelings Desire for reciprocation or revenge
  8. 8. Incivility Escalation
  9. 9. Who Are The Instigators? <ul><li>Male or female: coworkers, supervisors, managers </li></ul><ul><li>Tend to be rude to coworkers, disrespectful of subordinates </li></ul><ul><li>Generally difficult to get along with </li></ul><ul><li>Often emotionally reactive to problems and stressful situations. </li></ul><ul><li>Some are particularly skilled at “kissing up and kicking down” </li></ul>
  10. 10. Factors Causing Incivility <ul><li>Blurred lines for appropriate behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Absentee parenting </li></ul><ul><li>Long hours/overwork </li></ul><ul><li>Workplace stress </li></ul><ul><li>Hurt feelings </li></ul><ul><li>Passive aggression </li></ul><ul><li>Intolerance of individual differences </li></ul><ul><li>Being in a protected position or position of authority </li></ul>
  11. 11. Why Be Civil? <ul><li>83% of people report that it is “very important” to work in a civil environment (Baltimore Workplace Study, 2003) </li></ul><ul><li>What you give is what you get </li></ul><ul><li>One person can have a positive impact on the work environment </li></ul><ul><li>— Improved cooperation </li></ul><ul><li>— Improved productivity </li></ul><ul><li>— Improved teamwork </li></ul>
  12. 12. Create a Culture of Civility <ul><li>Clearly define expectations for how employees treat each other </li></ul><ul><li>Organization culture and values </li></ul><ul><li>Employee orientation </li></ul><ul><li>Leaders model civility </li></ul>
  13. 13. Create a Culture of Civility <ul><li>Leaders identify and address incivility </li></ul><ul><li>Reward/reinforce civil behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Offenders face consequences </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage stress management, active listening, conflict resolution skills </li></ul>
  14. 14. Define Civil Behavior <ul><li>Avoid sarcasm, put downs, offensive humor </li></ul><ul><li>Listen attentively with eye contact </li></ul><ul><li>Watch body language/personal space </li></ul><ul><li>Apologize when in the wrong </li></ul><ul><li>Respect coworkers’ “stuff” (e.g., workspace, tools, food in the refrigerator) </li></ul><ul><li>Give each other positive reinforcement </li></ul>Engage employees in creating the definition. Here are some items employee groups have suggested:
  15. 15. <ul><li>Remember pleasantries </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t interrupt, ask if the person has time </li></ul><ul><li>Be open-minded </li></ul><ul><li>Say what you mean </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to people, not about people </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware of tone and volume </li></ul><ul><li>Be respectful, even in disagreement </li></ul>Communicate With Civility
  16. 16. Avoid Words That Promote Conflict <ul><li>“ You should/you must…” </li></ul><ul><li>“ You lied…” </li></ul><ul><li>“ This is so typical of you…” </li></ul><ul><li>“ You always/you never…” </li></ul><ul><li>“ The problem is you…” </li></ul><ul><li>“ If you don’t do this, then I’ll…” </li></ul><ul><li>“ You’ll never change…” </li></ul><ul><li>“ You’re being hysterical/ unreasonable…” </li></ul>
  17. 17. Active Listening <ul><li>Listen with the same basic courtesies you want to receive: </li></ul><ul><li>— No interrupting </li></ul><ul><li>— Reflect back understanding of views </li></ul><ul><li>— Ask clarifying questions </li></ul><ul><li>— Really listen, don’t respond until you have truly HEARD the other person </li></ul><ul><li>— Use “I” messages </li></ul>
  18. 18. Email <ul><li>Is the message more effectively communicated in person? </li></ul><ul><li>Review before sending </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t forget pleasantries </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware of tone </li></ul>
  19. 19. Responding to Incivility <ul><li>Have healthy boundaries </li></ul><ul><li>Know your conflict style </li></ul><ul><li>Express your point of view </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid escalation </li></ul><ul><li>Stay away from the low road </li></ul>
  20. 20. Being Civil Does Not Mean… <ul><li>Not speaking up for yourself </li></ul><ul><li>Being someone you are not </li></ul><ul><li>Avoiding conflict when it is necessary </li></ul><ul><li>Pretending to be nice, then stabbing someone in the back </li></ul><ul><li>Giving up your rights to seek assistance in dealing with difficult people at work </li></ul>
  21. 21. A Systemic Approach <ul><li>Clear values and standards of conduct </li></ul><ul><li>Strong orientation programs </li></ul><ul><li>Training in communication and related skills </li></ul><ul><li>Engaging employees in positive workplace efforts </li></ul><ul><li>Getting supervisors and managers on board and equipping them with needed skills </li></ul><ul><li>Creating a culture that rejects incivility and supports reporting and addressing it </li></ul>
  22. 22. Resources <ul><li>Rude Awakenings: Overcoming the Civility Crisis in the Workplace (2002) by Giovinella Gonthier </li></ul><ul><li>Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct (2002) by P.M. Forni </li></ul><ul><li>Conflict Resolution (2001) by Daniel Dana </li></ul><ul><li>People Styles at Work (1996) by Robert Bolton & Dorothy Grover Bolton </li></ul><ul><li>Resolving Conflicts at Work (2005) by Kenneth Cloke & Joan Goldsmith </li></ul><ul><li>Workplace Wars and How to End Them (1994) by Kenneth Kaye </li></ul>
  23. 23. 1848 Charter Lane Lancaster, PA 17601-5896 717.509.8889  877.562.2888