Civility Among Coworkers
In a study by Georgetown University and the Thunderbird School of Global Management, 96% of nearly 3,000 participants say they have experienced uncivil behavior in the workplace. Now organizations from Dish Satellite Corp to the NSA are following a lead set by companies like the employee-friendly Southwest Airlines, and implementing programs to improve civility among co-workers.
Warm and fuzzy time wasting? Not at all. Cisco Systems estimated the cost of employee incivility at $8.3 million annually and took action to counter the weakened commitment that resulted.
At the top of Georgetown U Professor Christine Porath’s list of rudeness-combating tips: Never criticize people behind their backs.
We agree. Everyone gets irritated with co-workers sometimes, but our belief is that if your frustration is great enough to vent to a third party, you need to discuss your issue face-to-face with the person concerned.
Please let us know: If someone comes to you with a gripe or complaint about someone else, what do you do? Do you get involved or send the individual back to the source of his or her concern? Do you ever enlist someone as your “sounding board” instead of going to the source of your concern? Share your responses to this weekly discussion question here.
Myth: Vulnerability Is a Weakness
One of the most dangerous myths in our culture is that vulnerability is a weakness..."Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never a weakness." We agree with Brené Brown, Ph.D., University of Houston researcher and author of The Gifts of Imperfection.
This is why we have often said that feeling descriptions like "angry," "frustrated," and "betrayed" don't work as well as "embarrassed," "inadequate," and "isolated." Although the first three might be easier to admit to, they lack vulnerability and the power that brings. Being vulnerable gives us the power to break through defensiveness by appealing to people's compassion. Then they can fully hear our concerns without feeling that they have to protect themselves from us.
We want to hear from you! What happened when you tried communicating your own vulnerability? Share your responses to this weekly discussion question here.
Still upset with your boss for not including you in an important meeting? Still annoyed at your neighbor for bringing baby back ribs to your vegetarian potluck? Your back may be suffering too! Researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that people who practice forgiveness experienced fewer feelings of anger, resentment, depression—and fewer aches and pains. “Our emotions, muscle tension, and thoughts can directly influence the strength of our pain signals,” explains researcher James W. Carson, Ph.D.
Grudges are not only bad for us physically, they don’t do much for us emotionally either. They hurt us way more than they hurt the person we are angry with. Start the process of giving up a grudge by setting an intention to do so. Encourage even the smallest feelings of forgiveness, and replace negative thoughts with reasons to let go. Ask yourself: How does it help me to hold onto this anger? Chances are you will come up short of a good answer.
We want to hear from you! What happened when you tried replacing anger and resentment with forgiveness? Share your responses to this weekly discussion.
Impact of Biased Expectation
What if you're working with someone whom you genuinely dislike? According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, our “biased expectancy” can create a self-fulfilling prophecy in any interaction you have with that person. In other words, because you don’t ever expect to respond positively to any idea they have—you won’t.
Ignoring the situation is unlikely to help. To break through your negative view and begin to improve the relationship, try initiating even casual dialogue. Let that person do most of the talking while you become a great listener. Make good eye contact, lean in, and ask questions. They will be drawn to you because of your interest in what they have to say—and you might even hear something that gets you to like them.
We want to hear from you! What happened when you tried this kind of casual curiosity with someone who you have typically not liked? Share your responses to this weekly discussion.