Thursday, April 18, 2019

Civility in the Workplace Part 5

Civility is one of the best ways to deal with difficult personalities in the workplace.

Civility sets the stage for effective communication.  In many ways, dealing with difficult personalities is simply a matter of setting and negotiating boundaries.  After all, difficult personalities are not “bad people.”  They just have a fixed way of relating and may need feedback from peers in order to adjust.

Civility creates a positive atmosphere that allows people to see beyond the obvious implications of behavior.  For example, many "difficult personalities" are simply people who have needs that are not being addressed.  You may see your co-worker as annoying when he or she simply craves attention and recognition.  It’s also possible that your difficult co-worker is merely channeling anger and frustration from his/her personal life into the workplace.  When you engage in civil behavior with your co-worker, you provide more opportunities for supportive interaction and empathy.

Cost and Rewards

While incivility can be perceived as innocuous behavior, it can significantly affect the company’s bottom line. Incivility has a direct impact on company productivity, sales, and customer retention among others. Civility, on the other hand, can improve all these areas and help create a high-performance organization.

Until next time...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

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