Saturday, February 20, 2010


Examples of incivility:
•        Taking credit for others’ efforts
•        Passing blame for mistakes
•        Talking down to others
•        Spreading rumors
•        Setting others up for failure
•        Belittling other’s efforts
•        Withholding information
•        Making demeaning or derogatory remarks
•        Taking resources someone else needs
•        Paying no attention to people, texting during meetings, failing to return phone calls or respond to e-mail.

The true cost?
Essentially, you estimate the numbers of employees who will, for example:
•        Lose work time worrying about an incident and future interactions with the offender
•        Lose work time avoiding the offender
•        Experience a lessened sense of commitment to the organization
•        Intentionally reduce their efforts at work
•        Intentionally reduce their hours at work
•        Leave their jobs because of incivility
•        Be indirectly affected by observing uncivil behavior
Add to that the number of customers who will turn elsewhere because they are turned off by the incivility they experience when dealing with you.
Once you know that, you calculate cost based on hours lost and sales lost. There are, of course, a number of assumptions involved, but the underlying result makes it clear:
The good news is, you can do something about it, and it’s not overly time-consuming or expensive.

1. Set Zero-Tolerance Expectations.
Set clear expectations for civility from the top. For example:
“Treat each other with respect.”
“Treat everyone in our diverse community with respect and dignity.”
“Nike was founded on a handshake. Implicit in that act was the determination that we would build our business based on trust, teamwork, honesty, and mutual respect
Corporate wellness programs show great ROI. And they are win-win—employees feel better and are more productive, and employers reap the benefits. Even small improvements make a difference. Test drive Workplace Wellness with no cost or risk.

2. Look in the Mirror.
Remember, that as individuals rise in the organization, they are less and less likely to hear negative information, including that about their own civility.
 Ask yourself:
•        Do I behave respectfully to all employees?
•        Do I take my frustrations out on employees who have less power than I?
•        Do I treat individuals, on whom I rely or who can do good things for me, better than others?
Peer review. Seek out the opinions of peers who may be straighter with you than subordinates.
Videotape. Videotape yourself at meetings. One CEO who did this was stunned: “I didn’t realize what a jerk I sounded like.”

3. Weed Out Trouble Before It Enters.
The easiest way to foster civility is to keep uncivil people out . No uncivil vendors, contractors, customers, or employees. To accomplish this:
Do thorough reference checks. Many firms don’t bother with reference checks, or do very cursory checks. 
Don’t go on gut. Your gut feeling may generally be reliable, but collect evidence.
Desperation. Don’t allow yourself to act hastily out of desperation. Take the time to be sure of a good hire.

4. Teach Civility.
Many offenders “just don’t know any better. Training can make a difference. For example, teach coaching, how to listen, how to respond, and how to receive and give feedback.
Also, include civility at performance rating time.

5. Train Employees and Managers to Recognize and Respond to Signals.
Many offenders reported to Pearson and Porath that their companies just didn’t seem to care about how employees treated one another. The employee thinks, why should I bother if no one cares? Charge your supervisors and managers to be alert for signals of incivility.
•        Are there certain people with whom no one wants to work ?
•        Are there certain managers whom no one wants to mentor?

6. Put Your Ear to the Ground.
Combining 360 feedback and organizational data is very helpful at pinpointing problems.
Organizational data, such as absence records and turnover stats, can reinforce 360 results. However be very careful using these data. Take into account the many reasons why two facilities in different areas of the country, or doing different kinds of work, could reasonably have significantly different results on the various metric scales.

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