If you have refrained from taking action to deal with incivility in your workplace, you must have had good reasons to do so. Or at least you persuaded yourself that you did. You spared yourself the effort, thought and courage that would be required to step up to the plate.
We will have a chance to talk about issues similar to this on our Live on Air Q&A Google Hangout on October 22nd. I really hope you will join us for this free event to mark the publication of Trust Your Canary: Every Leader’s Guide to Taming Workplace Incivility (see details below).
Meanwhile, here are the top ten common thoughts that might be preventing you from taking meaningful action. Which of these apply to you?
- The behaviour in question isn’t really that serious.
- The person (or persons) behaving uncivilly is too powerful for me to take on.
- As long as the customer doesn’t see this, no real damage is done.
- These problems are too engrained in the culture.
- I can’t change this alone.
- Things will sort themselves out.
- It has always been like this.
- This environment is significantly more respectful than my previous workplace. I should be content with what I have.
- If I do something, who knows what else might happen.
- Doing something about it will demand too much time and effort.
Truth is, in some instances there are indeed reality-based reasons to avoid action. For example, when your own boss is uncivil or senior management sets a bad example. Or when there is no commitment at the top to maintaining a civil organizational culture. But much of the time, the obstacles lie within your own mind and heart.
It’s only human to experience the above Top Ten thoughts and the anxieties, fears and sense of immobilization that they trigger. Avoidance is natural and understandable. But here’s the problem: if you and everyone around you succumb to these thoughts, how will things ever change?
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