Is ‘civility’ the answer to productivity and workplace wellness?

Do we unknowingly disrespect people by our actions? Ever sat in a meeting whilst responding to emails? Or sent a text whilst someone was talking to you? Some people may think that’s fine, others may not. Small uncivil actions can lead to much bigger problems and can really affect a business’s bottom line.

A TEDtalk by Christine Porath titled: “Why being respectful to your coworkers is good for business” shared some powerful statistics about the importance of civility in the workplace. A study showed of those who experienced uncivil actions towards them, 66% lacked motivation in their job, 80% lost time worrying, and 12% left their job entirely.

Those that experience incivility function much worse than those who don’t, yet just seeing or hearing (as a witness) also has an impact on performance, not just marginally but quite significantly – it’s contagious. It effects our emotions, performance, attention, it decreases our ability to make decisions and to communicate effectively. It is also the number one reason tied to executive failure – an insensitive, abrasive or bullying style.

Civility pays. Daily touch points and interactions really make people feel valued. Smiling, saying hello, listening fully when someone is speaking to you all matters. Care personally, but challenge directly. You can still have strong opinions and give negative feedback, just do so with respect.

Those that are civil have 13% higher performance and are 2 times more likely to be considered for leadership positions. Those that felt respected were 56% healthier, 92% more focused, had 1.1 times great retention and 55% more engaged.

The figures say it all. Incivility can be detrimental to your business and the performance of your team. But this isn’t just about the workplace, it’s worth thinking about who you are outside of the workplace too.

It pays to be civil.

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