The Considerate Colleague

November 9, 2018 | Vermeer strong Deborah Rinner, Vice President, Chief Learning Officer, Tero International Inc.,

Does civility create a workplace benefit?

Dr. P.M. Forni of Johns Hopkins University, author of “Choosing Civility: The Twenty Five Rules of Considerate Conduct,” has proved civility is imperative to the health of an organization.

Not only did his research conclude treating co-workers politely lowers stress (which can activate positive rather than negative effects in the nervous and immune systems), he also found civility positively influences tenure, absenteeism and workplace morale.

Civility is often a stated value in an organization’s mission statement. But values are only useful if demonstrated.

What are some easy ways to demonstrate civility?

  1. Ask people their opinion or to share their idea. When we are asked to give our opinion or idea, it signals we are seen as having value. To ask what others think signals both inclusivity and appreciation.
  2. Fill people in. There isn’t an organization alive that isn’t going through some kind of change. Letting others know what’s happening during times of change lowers fear of the unknown and feelings of ambiguity.
  3. Stand up. A simple shift in posture of standing up when greeting someone communicates respect. Standing up sends a nonverbal signal to the other person that they are valued and important to you.

William James said, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” Asking, informing and standing are easy ways to begin to show appreciation, demonstrate civility and be a considerate colleague.