Fix that broken window (Guest commentary)

Tactics to ensure incivility doesn’t erode an organization
By Sharon Bar-David
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/14/2011

Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series on incivility in the workplace. For part one, see “Workplace incivility: This molehill will cause a mountain of problems.”

You’ve seen it many times — rude, insensitive and disrespectful behaviour by colleagues or managers. It has an eroding effect on individuals, teams and organizations. It hurts commitment and leads to decreased work effort and performance. Classic incivility behaviours include gossip, social exclusion, dismissive body language such as eye-rolling, berating others in public and skipping basic social niceties such as saying, “Hello.”

Incivility flies under the organizational radar — it is strongly felt but rarely addressed. When it’s allowed to persist without organizational intervention, it creates the impression no one cares and, over time, becomes embedded in the culture. It’s also accompanied by a rise in harassment and bullying, stress levels and absenteeism and disruptions in customer service.