Encourage Civility

National Win With Civility Month

Encourage Civility at Work and in Your Community

“Civility” is more than just being polite to others. Civility is the way you conduct yourself when faced with rude, thoughtless or combatant people – especially when others have differing views or opinions than yours.

Civility has eroded in the last few years, reported 70 percent of respondents of a 2015 Customer Service Group study. It seems too many of us display a lack of cooperation or even simple common courtesy.

August is “National Win With Civility Month,” and this observance reminds us to treat customers, coworkers, family, neighbors and others with courtesy and respect.

The old phrase, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” may sound outdated, but the underlying notion still holds true. (Though, who wants to catch flies?) The idea is that you are more likely to get what you want with a genuinely pleasant, collaborative demeanor rather than with a harsh attitude.

Positive Mediation Outcomes

When you have a disagreement with another party that you are unable to resolve on your own, mediation is an option.

If you and/or the other party are utilizing ineffective communication tools when discussing possible resolutions, such as raised voices, inappropriate language, pointing fingers, interrupting, making faces, being sarcastic or shutting down completely, the opportunity to work with a professional mediator is a great avenue to consider.

When you enter into the mediation process, civility is an approach that can enhance your chances for a win-win outcome. This means coming to the table with the other party in a positive frame of mind. Acting in a civil manner means you will listen respectfully to the other party, you’ll state your relevant issues clearly and you’ll be open to negotiation.

Maintain Professionalism at Work with Civility

Civility can be just as important – and effective – at the workplace. “Healthy work relationships cannot live with distrust, nor without civility,” notes Ty Howard, former professional football player and motivational speaker.

Most people are more productive in a healthy work environment. This doesn’t mean there won’t be disagreements. In fact, disagreements can open the door to constructive discussions on ways to improve upon work processes. As Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said, “It’s possible to disagree without being disagreeable.”

How can you help create a more respectful, civil and productive workplace?

  • Start small. Change your tone of voice or physical stance. You may not realize how you are coming across to others. Simple changes could make you seem more approachable, flexible and a good team player.
  • Listen. Focus on being a good listener and acknowledging what the other person is saying. (Instead of listening intently, most people spend time thinking about what they are going to say instead of actually hearing the other speaker.)
  • Be polite. Use kind words and behave by using your best manners.
  • Maintain calm. You may be tempted to get defensive when an associate is critical or rude. Remaining patient and staying calm will help you stay above the fray.
  • Find the “good” in others. It is unlikely you will get along with everyone at the office. But if you keep this positive trait in mind when interacting with a difficult person, you may be able expand your perspective of this person or at least maintain civility.
  • Serve as an example. When you don’t see eye-to-eye with an associate, remember to maintain civility. Don’t seek battles with co-workers just so you can be “right” about a topic. If others feel confident in voicing their opinions, everyone is more likely to work toward “the greater good,” knowing that the group effort will benefit everyone.

Contact Concord Mediation Center at 402-345-1131 when you need assistance in resolving issues with others, while maintaining civility.

Do You Know the Cost of Workplace Conflict?

Stay tuned for information about our upcoming “Lunch And Learns,” designed to help managers, supervisors and employees understand conflict and learn new skills to maintain office morale and productivity!