Your office is not a sporting event, even though it appears to be that way sometimes. Civility, managers, need not be absent in the place in which you are trying to make a profit. You and your employees can be mutually civil and successful all at once. Employing proper business etiquette will easily improve retention and morale. These problems are going on all over the world. It is time to train the trainer.
So if you are still not a believer that incivility is in fact rampant, a recent Civility in America Poll showed that 94% of people believe incivility is a problem in America, with 65% of those agreeing that incivility has risen to crisis levels, and 79% overall agreeing that uncivil behavior leads to increased violence.
In a survey by British Columbia, Canada based Insights West, the majority of respondents had, over the previous month, witnessed public swearing (87%); a child misbehaving without parental intervention (76%); public spitting (72%); and the use of cellphones during a movie (53%). Poor parenting was cited as a culprit by 93% of respondents, followed by the influence of technology, at 84%. Among Canadians 18 to 34, 70% said someone had written something rude on their Facebook page; directed a mean Tweet at them; or had been disrespectful to them elsewhere online. Prior to the Vancouver, Canada Olympics, volunteers participated in a kind of civility boot camp, aimed at fostering such skills as attentive listening and conflict management in an attempt to set an example in civility for the world.
Looking to the nation’s bleachers, more than 65,000 Canadians have participated in “Respect in Sports” parents’ program, a behavioral training initiative – made mandatory by many sport bodies – designed to prevent infighting among overzealous moms and dads.
At present, both workplace and public incivility have gotten so out of control that we seem unable to manage ourselves, so governments are getting involved. For example, there has been increasing recognition in Canada that interpersonal mistreatment – ranging from incivility to harassment to bullying – is highly problematic for organizations. Consequently, legislation forbidding abusive behaviour at work has appeared in several Canadian provinces. Leaders are now tasked with the goal of creating an organizational climate that prohibits these behaviors, (referencing bullying specifically) but often approach the problem solely from the perspective of regulatory compliance. To date, 49 American states have anti-bullying laws on the books requiring school districts to adopt anti-bullying policies.
The incivility virus is evidently prevalent beyond North America too. In Australia, as of January 1, 2014, anyone in a constitutionally covered business who perceives he/she is being bullied at work can file a claim with the national workplace relations tribunal, called the Fair Work Commission. Germany’s so-called “insult law” not only criminalizes hate speech but also broad conduct showing disrespect for another person – including flipping someone off in traffic. In France, the state-owned railway tasked a team of “polite police” with cracking down on rude passengers after noting a 25% increase in traveler complaints. And in Singapore, a person can be fined for everything from spitting on the sidewalk to not flushing a public toilet.
On October 1, 2013, the Chinese government passed new regulations that require Chinese traveling abroad to watch their manners. Section 12, Chapter 1, “Time for Change” instructs, “Tourists shall respect public order and social morality in tourism activities, respect the local customs, cultural traditions and religious beliefs, take care of tourism resources, protect the ecological environment and respect the norms of civilized tourist behaviours.” Public courtesy is extremely important in Japan. There is, for example, Tokyo Metro’s “Ie de Yaro” (Do it at Home) poster campaign, which goes some way toward showing how important manners are in Japanese commuting life by depicting various anti-social acts such as falling asleep drunk; taking seats meant for disabled or elderly passengers; or applying make-up on the train, and politely asks “Please do it at home.”
In the Philippines, an “Anti-bullying Act” requires all elementary and secondary schools to adopt policies to prevent and address the acts of bullying in their institutions. On March 1, 2013, Shenzhen in China implemented a Civilized Behavior Promotion Law. Based on this law, government can enforce prohibition of ten specific public behaviors deemed to be uncivilized. These behaviors include; spitting in public; smoking in a designated non-smoking area; failing to clean up pets’ excrement in public; and damaging public sanitation facilities. Incivility is almost commonplace in many of our homes, communities, and workplaces.
When you consider that it’s also commonplace in homes, cities, and workplaces all over the world, it may be accurate to say that incivility has reached pandemic proportions. To say that the workplace is immune would be folly, and management can do a lot to change things there and, in so doing, contribute to the betterment of the world. The evidence is plain.
So let’s say you are not concerned about the world and, perhaps, your company is not international and not subjected to laws of other countries. At its bare minimum, you should be concerned about your bottom line. Employees, at least those that have alternatives, will leave. We know, because this is happened in shockingly large numbers. You and your company could be sued. The word could get out that your place to work is not as great as you would like others to think. And then the word filters down to your customers. The fact is, incivility will affect you sooner or later, one way or another, so get busy fixing it, please.