Grace Hill Training Tip of the Week
Creating a Civil and Respectful Workplace
Civility is a collection of positive behaviors which include treating people with respect, courtesy, consideration, and kindness. These behaviors produce feelings of respect, dignity, and trust. Teams function better and employees are healthier and more engaged in such environments. On the other hand, when civility is lacking in a workplace, performance, morale, and creativity suffer.
As a leader, how can you help foster a culture of civility and respect in your workplace? Here are some tips:
- Be an active listener. Focus on the person speaking to you, and listen without interrupting. Use brief, positive responses to keep conversations going and to show you are listening. Ask clarifying questions and summarize responses back to check your understanding. Be aware of your body language and your tone throughout conversations.
- Create an inclusive environment. An inclusive work environment is one in which all employees can make use of their particular skills, talents, and experiences, and where ideas and contributions are valued and sought after by management and other team members. Ultimately, the goal of embracing diversity is creating a team where people from all backgrounds are encouraged to share their unique talents.
- Acknowledge people. Don’t assume people know you appreciate them or respect their contributions. Instead, make a plan to acknowledge people. From small gestures like a “hello” in the hallway or a thank you note, to things like recognition in a meeting or an annual award, acknowledgment is important. However, make sure acknowledgments are sincere; if employees feel they are not genuine they can be counterproductive.
- Remember that actions can speak louder than words. Delegating important tasks, being open to contributions and feedback, and letting employees pursue creative ideas can show them that you trust and respect them. It is also important to actively support your employees—they need to know you have their backs.
- Set a good example. As a leader, you can spread civility. You’d be surprised how much your example can influence others. In addition to focusing on positive behaviors, make sure to avoid the tendency to engage in gossip or other forms of negative communication.
- Provide civility training. Don’t assume people naturally know how to be civil and respectful. Even well-intentioned people may not have the skills or have had models of civility in their lives. Training employees by being explicit about the importance of civility, providing examples of civil and uncivil behavior, and giving opportunities to practice using real-world scenarios is important.
Creating a civil and respectful workplace takes purposeful, ongoing effort, but the rewards will be well worth it.