“Why Should I Bother Saying Hello?”

Participants in our workplace incivility workshops sometimes say: “why should I say hello to a colleague who doesn’t bother saying hello to me?”. In other words, the old eye-for-an-eye principal, or what researchers described as The Spiral Effect: one act of workplace incivility leads to a retaliatory one, which leads to another mini-aggression act of incivility.

When we’re really honest with ourselves, it’s not rocket science to realize that our not saying ‘hello’ in response to their not saying it, is in itself a form of min-aggression.

Same is true if your response to their no-hello is to provide them with a greeting that’s imbued with a sarcastic, chastising tone. This is when you words convey a greeting but your tone says: “Let me teach you those manners that your parents obviously forgot to impart on you”. In this case, everyone might be better off if you keep silent instead of engaging in this passive-aggressive ‘greeting’.

So here are the top five reasons why you should be polite and courteous even when that other evil-rude-terrible person does none of it at all:

  1. Incivility damages the workplaceNecessity is the mother of invention, and that’s how the concept of ‘manners’ came into the world. Quoting from my friend John’s mother: “Manners are meant for use with people you don’t like (or don’t know)”.
  2. There’s good reason for the saying: “An-eye-for-an-eye leaves everyone blind”.
  3. You’ll like yourself better when you come from your higher, generous self rather than from a nit-picky retaliatory place.
  4. You’ll be contributing to a work environment that feels better for everyone. That will feel good to you and to everyone around you. Instead of being part of a workplace that makes you want to linger in bed in the morning, you’ll leap forward with a spring in your step and a smile on your face.
  5.  It’s a good idea to follow what sages, across religions and cultures, have suggested through the ages: do unto others as you would have them do unto thyself.

 On  a different note – an invitation:

On February 26th (tomorrow), join me for the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s town-hall webinar on the new National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.  I will be sharing the virtual podium with Emma Pavlov, Senior Vice President at University Health Network (UHN), who will be sharing inspiring information from their journey as Canada’s largest health care provider in the arena of respectful workplace (I will chime in with my two cents too).

It’s FREE, and if you can’t make it, you can listen at another date. Click here for details.


And as always,  don’t be a stranger –  get in touch.

We promise to always greet you with a nice ‘hello’ when you connect.

This entry was posted in Blog, Respectful Workplace, Workplace Incivility. Bookmark the permalink.


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