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Is civility in the workplace dead?

The Today show’s running a 3 part series on civility in general. It’s looking as if it’s dead in our society with reality TV shows showing people behaving badly, social media allowing us to be bolder with our thoughts than ever before, and what I view as a lack of personal responsibility for our behavior and general courtesy towards others.

Coaching a group client this week, she told me about a manager who was having an affair with an employee and because this client knew about it, she felt she was being subtly pushed out of her position. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and had to wonder – what are people thinking? The professional arena is the last place you want to behave badly; it can affect your career progression and therefore your financial stability, not to mention all of the other repercussions it can have. (In another blog post I talked about a related topic, how to handle office gossip.)

In an effort to restore civility in our lives, we must handle ourselves professionally at work. And especially for recent college grads-don’t think that the behavior being modeled on reality TV is the way to go. It’s nowhere near that.

Here are some quick tips:

  • Don’t get involved in negative office gossip
  • Watch how you handle yourself in meetings
  • Be direct yet professional and respectful towards everyone regardless of their position or “rank” in the company
  • Treat co-workers with courtesy and respect
  • Say hello to everyone, take a moment to smile at them

I’ve worked with too many clients whose bosses have berated them in front of others, yelling at them and talking down to them. This is ridiculous and inappropriate to say the least. It creates a culture of disrespect and inappropriate behavior. Staff turnover will be high and productivity low as a result.

What do you think? Is civility in the workplace dead? I hope not! When you’re looking for your ideal career, remember that the culture of the organization is an important component to consider when choosing the right place for you.

Here’s to having a career you love!

Hallie Crawford
Certified Career Coach