Workplace incivility: This molehill will cause a mountain of problems (Guest commentary)

'Broken window' principle can improve courtesy at work
By Sharon Bar-David
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 02/25/2011

Mirella has one of those thorny personalities that makes people go out of their way to avoid interacting with her, on a work-related basis or otherwise. Grumpy and moody, she’ll give people the silent treatment for no apparent reason. Her morning greetings are reserved for a select few, while others are noticeably excluded. On occasion, she’ll announce, “Don’t bug me or ask me for anything today. I’m in a crappy mood.”

Her eye-rolling habits are legendary. And she is a malicious gossiper and rumour monger.

In another department, Rick the supervisor has some bad habits of his own. He berates employees in public for the pettiest of reasons. He is notorious for curtly shooting down any idea that doesn’t meet his approval and doesn’t hesitate to claim credit for other people’s work. Much like Mirella, Rick can walk by people as if they don’t exist. And he sees nothing wrong with barging into meetings unannounced, without the faintest apology.