Both inside and outside of work it seems we see a gamut of disrespectful and rude behaviour. At times it’s hard to believe that we live in a civil society, particularly with the shocking amount of decay within the political sphere. The workplace is but a microcosm of society. From a business and leadership perspective, the nasty behaviour happening outside the workplace is trickling in. The result is an increased negative impact on both morale, productivity and your bottom line. So what can you do?
As a leader, the first step is to realize that conflict is a vital part of organizational success. Properly facilitated, disagreements lead to healthy, constructive conversations that translate into creativity, innovation and a shared sense of accomplishment.
As a leader, you can and should make workplace civility a priority in your business by encouraging all employees to exercise these practical ideas:
- Pursue understanding first.
- Listen and respect others opinions.
- Before you act or speak, consider the impact of your words and actions on others.
- Self-monitor the respect that you display in all areas of your communications, including verbal, body language, and listening.
- Understand your triggers or “hot buttons”. Knowing what makes you angry or frustrated enables you to manage your reactions and respond in a more appropriate manner.
- Accept responsibility for your actions and the consequences of those actions.
- Practice self-restraint in responding to potential conflicts.
- Adopt a positive and solution focused approach in resolving conflicts.
- Offer and willingly accept constructive feedback.
- Rely on facts rather than assumptions. Gather relevant facts, especially before acting on assumptions that can damage relationships.
- View today’s difficult situations from a broader perspective by considering what they mean in the overall scheme of things.
- Become a bridge builder and role model for civility and respect. Act in a manner whereby you respect yourself and demonstrate respect for others.
Perhaps the most important piece in all of this is to realize that it starts with you. Take time to reflect on your own behaviours. Are you part of the problem or the solution?
Set an expectation of workplace civility by “walking the talk” and BE the change that you want to see.