Within a two-day period, two separate clients called to schedule training sessions on Diversity, also called Incivility in the Workplace. Both reported they had recently experienced a nasty incident among co-workers at their respective offices, and they felt they needed to formally remind staff of basic civil, non-discriminatory conduct.
In the media, there have been a growing number of reports on incivility, rudeness, harassment, and ultimate violence in the workplace between and against co-workers and management. Some think the more casual office atmosphere in many organizations causes the increase in incivility. ‘Casual Fridays’ and other less professional interactions such as excessive sarcastic humor and intra-office emails, instead of face-to-face conversations, create venues for employees to behave less than professionally. Quite often, the sarcasm is taken too far and verges on blatant harassment.
When I go to client sites, I see signs posted in the kitchens, hallways, and restrooms, which are nothing more than reminders of basic skills my mother taught me as a child. There are signs asking employees:
- Not to leave dirty dishes in the sink
- Not to take the last cup of coffee without refilling the pot afterwards
- Not to walk away from jammed equipment & expect someone else to fix it
- Not to spit, brush your teeth, or dump coffee grounds in the water fountain
- Not to walk away from an overflowing or jammed toilet.
All of the poor behaviors listed above gradually build frustrations in co-workers. This creates hostility among them, and negatively impacts morale and production. This then leads to negative and sarcastic comments. If the abusive and sarcastic joking isn't controlled immediately, there is potential for the organization to be slapped with a harassment or discrimination lawsuit.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Become aware of incivility in your workplace
- Become aware of possible discriminatory or harassing behaviors in your workplace
- Immediately talk to the offenders and remind them that when they are in the workplace their offensive behaviors are not acceptable
- Take action against blatant offenders
- Immediately inform all staff of the standards of conduct expected of them
- And always remember: As the leader, You set the example!
Leaders, there's no excuse for incivility in the workplace. Period.
Copyright MMVIII - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz and her team work with leaders to create focused plans for their organizations' future. Then they work with the leaders to ensure their plans are implemented effectively.