Now’s a Great Time for Workplace-Civility Initiatives

Workplace civility is a value that all organizations should strive to achieve. For those employers who may need a bit more motivation to implement a workplace-civility initiative, now is the time! August is “Win With Civility” month.  Chase’s Calendar of Events includes a list of causes to which August has been dedicated as a “special month.”

Noting that it is a national dedication, I thought the dedication must warrant certain recognitions, so I did a Google search for ways employers celebrate, observe, or at least acknowledge the special dedication. Surprisingly, a Google search uncovered little more than other websites noting the dedications of August and companies selling promotional materials. Although I was disappointed at the search results, I assume the results reflect a lack of interest in the special dedication rather than a lack of interest in “winning with civility” as a general principle. To help readers who want to “win with civility” in August I have included a reminder of what civility means and some suggestions on how a person can behave to “win with civility.” 

Civility is one of those words that is often tossed around but rarely defined. Everyone knows it means something like “be nice.” This is not out of line with the Free Dictionary Online definition of civility as “polite or courteous behavior” or “the act of showing regard for others.” The general definition provides some guidance for behavior, but other websites have provided more specific ways a person can “show regard for others.” Although the specific suggestions were not necessarily written to provide guidance for workplace behavior, many are particularly appropriate for workplace civility.

One website,Because It Matters, lists 10 Keys to Civility. Although the keys are not specific to the workplace, they provide guiding principles that apply to all circumstances. The 10 keys are:collection of cartoon faces

1. Respect others

2. Think positively

3. Pay attention

4. Make a difference

5. Speak kindly

6. Say thank you

7. Accept others

8. Rediscover silence

9. Listen

10. Keep your cool

Another source of guidance can be found on the National Public Radio (NPR) website. In 2003, NPR reproduced George Washington’s 110 Rules of Civility, editing them for readability. Although some of the rules are inapplicable to most modern workplaces, others are perfectly applicable and well worth noting during a special month dedicated to civility. I have included below 10 of the rules that struck me as particularly applicable to all workplaces.

1. Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another though he were your enemy. (Rule 22)

2. Let your discourse with men of business be short and comprehensive. (Rule 35)

3. Strive not with your superior in argument, but always submit your judgment to others with modesty. (Rule 40)

4. Undertake not to teach your equal in the art himself professes; it savors of arrogancy. (Rule 41)

5. When a man does all he can, though it succeed not well, blame not him that did it. (Rule 44)

6. Being to advise or reprehend any one, consider whether it ought to be in public or in private, and presently or at some other time; in what terms to do it; and in reproving show no signs of cholor but do it with all sweetness and mildness. (Rule 45)

7. Take all admonitions thankfully in what time or place soever given, but afterwards not being culpable take a time and place convenient to let him know it that gave them. (Rule 46)

8. While you are talking, point not with your finger at him of whom you discourse, nor approach too near him to whom you talk, especially to his face. (Rule 76)

9. Undertake not what you cannot perform but be careful to keep your promise. (Rule 82)

10. When your superiors talk to anybody hearken not, neither speak nor laugh. (Rule 84)

In the spirit of civility, thank you for taking the time to read this post. Happy “Win with Civility” month!

Related Posts:

Courtesy and Respect Get Tossed to the Side by Political Staffer

Rude Employees Are Bad for Business

Disrespectful Workplace Costs State $314k

15 Things that Jerks at Work Usually Do

Bosses Aren’t the Only Workplace Toxins: What to do with toxic employees?

Jerks-At-Work Expert Confirms Fridge Raiding Is #1 Worst Workplace Incivility

Employee Handbook Policy #502: Respectful Workplace

*This post was written by guest blogger, Elisabeth Bradley, who is wrapping up her second summer as a summer associate at Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP. Thanks, Elisabeth–great post!!

One thought on “Now’s a Great Time for Workplace-Civility Initiatives

  1. Civility and Respect are essential foundations for community. Promoting these qualities in relationships at work and across the community requires a serious commitment to these values. It also requires diligent action. People do not become more civil simply because they intend to do so. Improving relationships requires ongoing effort with effective guidance.


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