The cost of bad behavior is making headlines. The workplace can be a difficult place to spend the majority of your waking hours. Incivility in the workplace is said to be running rampant. We aren't talking about poor ethic decisions and faulty accounting. Incivility in the workplace is about how people act. What managers say and do. How c-level executives make those around them feel. Often it's more than just rude behavior. Outright ridicule, sarcasm and embarrassment is turning the office workplace into a toxic environment.
As we strive for efficiency in the workplace, are we getting meaner? Technology can be a friend and an enemy. As we send and receive documents quicker, our patience wanes. We look down on the human being who can't compose a letter as quickly as it can be printed and mailed. We find ourselves irritated having to wait for anything when most items can be created, mailed and received in less than a few hours. It makes us yearn for not having a physical document. If we can receive it on our screen in a matter of seconds, why send it? And if that's the case, why are we waiting for someone to get the meaning of what we are trying to say when I can compose it in a note and send it off in an email or text? That way you are saving the time of dialing, making polite small talk and then delivering what's already compose and en route.
But when you lose your patience with people, especially when it come to efficiency over kindness, you lose your humanity also. Are you treating employees and those around you humanely? Do you treat strangers on the street with more compassion and consideration than those who you rely to grow your business and business relationships? If you are unsure about that answer, take a look around. If incivility is rampant in your business or life, odds are people are leaving. Either talented employees are discovering "opportunities" or people you care about are no longer seeking out your company. It only takes one bully and one person to leave the scene before you have a team of people remaining who are either seething, being enticed to move on like the one who said, "Ciao Baby", or are plotting ways to sabotage the work environment.
Incivility can be horribly contagious. Where a boss can neglect to say, "hello" and not recognize a job well done, a manager can send emails that don't have a salutation but just bursts out commands. It doesn't take long before employees forget the mission of the company and begin to focus on how much they despise the workplace environment.
If you are a victim of workplace incivility, make sure human resources and management know. If it runs rampant, go higher. And always count yourself above it. Find somewhere else to fill your time. If you are a boss and wonder if you are a tough nut, call on a former employee who's been gone for more than six months. They will be more candid after leaving and establishing themselves in another job. Ask them how they felt. Let them know you are cognizant that the workplace might be toxic. Listen to what they have to say. You might find it's just what you suspected all along.