Friday, September 2, 2011

KeFactors Friday: Workplace Incivility - So what? What can I do about it?

Stop the behavior. If you know you’re doing something that offends others—even in a small way—correct it. ASAP. If you suspect you might be doing something wrong but aren’t sure, ask! At the very least, you’ll learn what’s negotiable and what the tolerances may be.

Revitalize the basics.
Say “please.” If you take the last cup of coffee from the pot, make some more. Help someone if they appear overloaded. And I urge you to praise rather than punish, and to be very explicit in your thank-you’s, because humans have a tendency to repeat the behaviors that win praise. Don’t just toss off a “thanks” but maybe say, “You’re always so punctual and organized with your reports, I really appreciate that about you.”

Beware the rude non-verbals.
One can hear and sense non-verbals even over the phone. I’ve witnessed angry individuals flounce indignantly out of a meeting, then try to backpedal by claiming, “But I wasn’t mad” — except everyone could tell they were….

Commit to being a better listener.
Our narcissistic society has forgotten the transformative power of being heard. Listen fully. Acquire the skills and awareness to work on building trust.

Put a premium on courtesy as a mark of professionalism.
As viral as incivility can be, civility is also contagious if your group insists upon it as a community value worth upholding and protecting. It should start with leaders who can model courteous behaviors—but you know what? You don’t need a degree in rocket science to be a courteous person. Start without your leaders, especially if they’re part of the incivility problem at your workplace.

Honor your “toxin handlers.”
Toxin handlers are people who recognize the emotional pain in other people and in a situation. They know that if such pain strips others of their hope or self- confidence, those affected will lose their focus and enthusiasm and become disconnected from their workplace. As a result, these handlers step into the situation and deflect the pain or prevent or release its effects so that their people can get back to work. These people are both the
heroes and casualties of your workplace, and can exist anywhere in your organization. The often invisible work of toxin handlers is vital to the health and success of the organization.

Recognize the physical toll of incivility
and take steps to mitigate it. Get enough sleep, exercise, or even professional help if necessary. But don’t learn to live with this festering virus.

No comments: