Workplace Civility – Importance

The words that frequently come to mind when one hears “civility” are respect, courtesy, tolerance, politeness, and courtesy. All these are qualities employers look for while recruiting employees, because they understand that these qualities are essential to relate with others in a positive and productive manner.

A respectful person will be able to handle an opposition in an efficient and professional way. Similarly, a tolerant person will know how to rationally handle an unruly situation without losing his cool.

Workplace Civility Importance

However, there are times when uncivil behavior is mistaken for boorish behavior. Many a time, a person can be uncivil without his being aware of it. For example, someone who starts working for a new company assuming that he will be subject to the same guidelines in the new company as he was in his previous one, will unintentionally invite friction with his co-workers.

At times, discussing work performance with someone might be misconstrued as harsh criticism, especially if the tone of the voice is not modulated properly. A supervisor could easily argue in his defense that he has the senior designation and can share criticism whichever way he wants. However, in doing so, he ends up soiling his reputation in workplace and killing future chances at career growth.

There are many other instances where a good-intentioned person could unknowingly create for himself the tag of an “uncivil employee”. Some of them are mentioned below. Let’s see how these simple actions are often misunderstood −

  • Gossiping − Unless a news has been confirmed, it’s uncivil to instigate the discussion of a topic simply based on rumors. This seemingly harmless action can inflict major psychological damages on the target of this unsubstantiated gossip.
  • Using Abusive Language − Even if the intention is good, using crude language or abusing someone verbally doesn’t serve any purpose whatsoever. The recipient won’t want to understand the reason of the tirade, but would rather take it personally. The abuser will also earn a bad name for himself as an ill-tempered guy.
  • Ignoring People’s Presence and Greeting − This is another uncivil behavior in common practice. Even if one is the busiest person in the world, he would still find time to return someone’s greeting with the same compassion. Ignoring people’s greetings and walking past them without even a smile is extremely rude.
  • Discounting Employee Contribution − discounting employee contribution means not sharing proper credit with someone for his contribution, or not giving proper recognition to someone’s efforts. Even if this happens unintentionally, someone’s emotions could get hurt when his hard work is not appreciated or credited to him.
  • Sabotaging Individual Efforts − Trying to cut a way out of competition by not informing someone who is your competitor in promotion of the exact time of a client’s arrival.
  • Discriminating Against People − Harboring prejudice against an individual based on his race, gender, age, mental ability, and physical appearance.
  • Not Being Sensitive to Co-Workers’ Needs − Not being able to pay attention to the feelings and needs of others e.g. not giving a co-worker a sick-leave, or not giving maternity leave to someone to justify optimum workplace attendance.
  • Engaging in Distracting Activities − talking over the phone while a meeting is going on, not cleaning up the whiteboard after using it are all actions that don’t involve anyone but draw criticism of everyone.
  • Practicing Poor Communication − Ignoring phone calls and emails, disclosing contents of confidential emails to people outside organization.