5 Ways to Promote Civility in the Workplace

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By UT System Administration Office of Employee and Organizational Development

Being uncivil can happen without us even recognizing it—an overlooked email, missed meeting or forgotten acknowledgment.  These lapses may seem innocent and often justifiable, but when repeated, can translate to a lack of respect for others and lead to real problems.

Demonstrating civility means showing regard for those around us and being thoughtful, courteous and polite. The effects of civility in a department are better communication, collaboration and cohesiveness, and when problems exist, we see increased turnover, interpersonal conflict and sometimes even instances of hostility and bullying.

Below are five tips you may find helpful from the training course “Promoting Civility in the Workplace.”

  1. Pay Attention.
    Simply being observant and considerate can go a long way toward making others feel valued and appreciated.  You don’t need to nose into someone’s personal life, but always have an awareness of what those around you may be going through, especially if you’re a supervisor.
  2. Acknowledge Other People.
    Make time to recognize others, whether by remembering someone’s name or congratulating a team member, and always be mindful of when you have a reason to thank someone.
  3. Be Inclusive.
    No one likes to be left out. If you realize you’ve unintentionally excluded someone, be honest about your mistake and apologize. Everyone deserves to feel welcome and part of the team.
  4. Respect Even a Subtle “No”.
    One of the most basic rules of respect is accepting another person’s “no,” even if they don’t say “no.” This is especially important in conversations between supervisors and team members.
  5. Be Respectful of Others’ Time.
    Be careful to not send the message that your time is more important. A common mistake is demanding immediate attention by showing up or calling unannounced. Always make it safe and possible for the other person to pick a better time. Also be aware of how you manage your time and avoid creating emergencies for others.

Are you interested in learning more? Contact your human resources office to inquire about course offerings. Traveling courses can be arranged for groups of 15 or more participants, though a fee may apply. Course materials are based on the teachings of Dr. P.M. Forni and his book, Choosing Civility.

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