4 Tips to Increase Courtesy in the Workplace

by Oct 14, 2015

Working in this fast-paced era of technology makes interacting with colleagues and other people instantaneous. We don’t really think about what and how we are going to respond to text messages, emails and social media posts. As a result, civility is being erased from the picture.

The immediacy of instant messaging, email, Skype and others allows everyone to act and respond offensively without a second thought. When you’re looking at a computer or phone screen it’s easy to forget the person at the other end has feelings.  This inability to have empathy for your phone screen can give rise to incivility and even workplace bullying.


Courtesy in the Workplace

To restore civility, here are 4 ways to interact in your workplace courteously:

1) Don’t rush when writing an email or text message.

Take time to be courteous as you write to a fellow worker.  Insert a thoughtful and cordial salutation in your emails. It will only take a second or two to be courteous.

2) Be polite.  

There’s nothing wrong with being considerate to your co-workers’ feelings.  They might have done something wrong and in need of correction, but you can still be polite in doing so.  It is also one way of showing professionalism.

3) Always remember that constructive criticism is not constructive unless you stop giving criticism.

Constructive criticism is really about helping someone get better. So collaborate and communicate when giving feedback, and that will push you both to excellence. Though it is easier to criticize than to execute, don’t forget the efforts the employees have put into their work.  Even if some attempts at a project are not successful, the time and energy put into the project should never go unnoticed.

4) Practice being courteous.

According to an American author and playwright Jean Kerr, “Man is the only animal that learns by being hypocritical. He pretends to be polite and then, eventually, he becomes polite.”

The full article of Restoring Civility in the workplace is at Deseret News.


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About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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