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Addressing Incivility in the Workplace: Strategies for a Better Work Environment

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Ayanna Amadi
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Addressing Incivility in the Workplace: Strategies for a Better Work Environment

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In recent years, the rise of incivility in the workplace has become a major concern, causing distress among leaders and employees alike. This negative behavior, characterized by rudeness and disrespect, manifests in various forms. It includes ignoring others, withholding pertinent information, emotional put-downs, and spreading false rumors. If unchecked, incivility can lead to a toxic workplace culture and the loss of valued employees. Therefore, addressing it is crucial, especially in organizations that value kindness and respect.

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Understanding Workplace Incivility

Workplace incivility is a subtle form of misconduct that undermines the norms of mutual respect and can have severe consequences. It often goes unnoticed because it's typically low-intensity behavior and lacks clear intent to harm. However, the cumulative effect can be devastating, both to the individual and the organization. Incivility can lead to decreased employee morale, increased turnover, and reduced productivity.

Role of Supervisors in Promoting Workplace Civility

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Supervisors play a crucial role in promoting and protecting employee mental health. According to a study, there are six Mental Health Supportive Supervisor Behaviors (MHSSB) that can be enacted by supervisors to promote employee mental health. These include providing emotional support, offering clear communication, promoting work-life balance, supporting professional development, and recognizing employee achievements.

Individual Differences and Incivility

A research conducted on coworker incivility highlighted that individual differences such as trait conscientiousness and gender can serve as self-regulatory resources to buffer the adverse impact of incivility. Those with high levels of conscientiousness tend to show lower tendencies to engage in organizational deviance. Also, men with low conscientiousness levels are most likely to engage in such deviance, while women are also prone to do so, albeit to a lesser extent. This study emphasizes the importance of considering individual differences when addressing the detrimental effects of incivility.

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Strategies for Dealing with Workplace Incivility

There are several strategies to deal with workplace incivility. Immediate intervention is essential to prevent the spread of negative behaviors. High-ranking employees should be held accountable for their actions as their behavior often sets the tone for the entire organization. Additionally, refraining from reciprocating destructive behaviors can help in creating a positive environment.

According to an article on dealing with difficult people at work, confronting the perpetrator isn't always the right choice. The decision to confront or not depends largely on the situation and individual involved. Instead, assuming positive intent and not always having a confrontation about mistakes or innocent misunderstandings can be effective ways of maintaining civility in the workplace.

Conclusion

In conclusion, addressing incivility in the workplace involves a multifaceted approach that includes immediate intervention, individual awareness, and effective leadership. By promoting a respectful, supportive environment, organizations can not only improve employee morale and productivity but also their bottom line. Remember, a civil workplace is the responsibility of everyone, from the top-level management to the newest hire. Let's work together to create an environment where everyone feels valued and respected.

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