Monday, August 14, 2017

Disrespect, Incivility--Not Just in Politics!

Incivility is hurting our businesses. At a recent leadership summit, the keynote speaker encouraged everyone to work on civility. Quoting the author of Mastering Civility, Bill Hybels quoted statistics that people in greater numbers are reporting rude and disrespectful behavior. In 1998, it was 25%; in less than 10 years, it doubled to 50%. Some think it's now at 95% in just another 10 years.

For those experiencing disrespect and incivility in the workplace, productivity drops by half. One in four employees take 'revenge' on the customers. One restaurant chain owner said he can 'taste incivility in the food.'  In one notable example, Southwest Airlines insists on respect and civility...not just with their employees but also with their passengers. One employee marched a passenger who was being rude off the aircraft and up to another gate. That employee bought that passenger a ticket on the other airline.

Here are the best practices you could adopt in your organization:

  • Set the example on how to differ with someone else without demonizing them
  • Encourage spirited disagreements without 'drawing blood', i.e. keep the conversation on the issue and not on the person
  • Ban interruptions; let people complete their contribution
  • Limit the volume of 'speech' and hold accountable anyone who belittles another's idea
  • Be courteous in word and deed
  • Avoid stereotypes
  • Apologize, especially if you violate any of these best practices
  • Form opinions carefully and be open to new information and the possibility of changing your opinion
  • Be dependable
  • Set rules of respect--like these--and enforce relentlessly
It's the soft stuff that's the hard stuff. So take time to reflect on your experience and your personal purpose and the organization's purpose. As a leader you drive the culture and can confirm the vision, mission and purpose of the organization. You'll get the culture and the vision you want, as indicated by your actions not what's printed in the employee handbook. Be a better leader in this respect and everyone else will probably follow. 

And yes, practice these rules at home...and on social media.

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