We are 1/12 of the way through 2024, and as the well-wishing for peace and happiness fades along with the holiday music and decorations, I’m placing civility at the very top of my New Year’s wish list.
I don’t think anyone could argue that the incivility meter has hit an all-time high. With the election looming, the proliferation of social media, conspiracy theories, and AI concerns, this year might just be the most challenging to date. This is a terrifying thought, because last year, I, along with colleagues, clients, and friends, experienced unprecedented incidents of incivility and unprofessionalism in the workplace. We were shocked by the significant increase in unreturned phone calls and emails, RFPs not being acknowledged, bosses and colleagues who consistently “forgot” to give credit where it was due, and the increase in personal conflict among co-workers due to the acrimonious political divide.
This behavior does not just affect the individual. It affects the entire organization and is linked to diminished work performance, employee burnout, and high turnover rates. It’s essential, therefore, to recognize when incivility occurs in your workplace, and develop strategies and policies to eliminate this pattern before it runs rampant and does irreparable harm.
Regardless of where you sit on the corporate ladder, the demands to get more done faster, the daily deluge of emails, and the endless number of virtual and in-person meetings, can lead to being overwhelmed, short-tempered, and forgetting to acknowledge the people who are lending you a hand. But sooner or later, this behavior will come back to bite you in the you-know-where!
Fortunately, there are techniques to help you manage your temperament and communication, and work with grace and aplomb to maintain a respectful and productive workplace.