Guest Blogger, Cherina Johnson is the owner of Upstairs Resale Shop located in Saginaw, MI, which is currently operating as an online and pop-up store.
Do you work in an environment that is hostile, disrespectful, or unappreciative of your skills or input? This is a toxic relationship. What can you do if this is something that you are experiencing now or have been experiencing for some time? There are basically three options you can choose, each having its own pros and cons.
First, you can stay at the workplace and tolerate the abuse. You will most likely keep your job, but under the present circumstances you probably will be stressed out or even fearful to go to work.
Second, you can report incident to immediate supervisor or executive management of any intimidating or rude behavior that has been targeted against you. This may reveal to management a potential problem, however, if management does not take it very seriously it could result in a more vicious attack on the individual who disclosed the issue.
Finally, you could quit this job and find work elsewhere. If you leave the job it would be a good thing for your mental health, yet it may put you in a financial bind until you find another job with comparable or better pay and benefits.
If there is incivility in the workplace, in order for the root of it to be cut off it must be dealt with from the top down. What is civility? This is something that has to be defined, communicated and demonstrated by word and deed by executive management, not just written in an employee’s handbook. Sure, these individuals may not deal with the staff much on a one-on-one basis, but they set the tone of what is expected from their staff and how the workers should be treated by their superiors and toward each other; no matter, what department they are working in. The following is an example of what civility is according to the law firm Bryan Cave in Irvine, California (Porath, 2018):
Bryan Cave’s Code of Civility
1. We greet and acknowledge each other.
2. We say please and thank you.
3. We treat each other equally and with respect, no matter the conditions.
4. We acknowledge the impact of our behavior on others.
5. We welcome feedback from each other.
6. We are approachable.
7. We are direct, sensitive, and honest.
8. We acknowledge the contributions of others.
9. We respect each other’s time commitments.
10. We address incivility.
Another thing to take into consideration to foster a civil atmosphere at the workplace is to teach employees skills in how to act civil through ongoing training, including role playing. Being civil is a learned behavior, so teaching about civility is important. Yet, modeling civility is essential. Like the old adage says, “action speaks louder than words.”
Reference: Porath, C. (2018). Making civility the norm of your team. HBR.