Last month, results from an annual study that tracks the state of civility in the United States found that 93% of Americans identified a civility problem in the U.S., with 68% classifying it as a major problem. What is your guess about how that compares to civility in the workplace?
If you work at Google, you may be feeling that the culture of incivility at work is not much better than societal civility. Last year, Google issued a new code of conduct aimed at reducing online employee harassment within its own ranks. As reported in Wired, “a Google spokesperson said the company sought to clarify and formalize its policies after noticing incivility on all sides of internal debates around diversity and politics. The guidelines were based on feedback from employees and designed to remind employees to be civil with each other, so that Google could preserve the company’s open and transparent culture.”
With a global workforce of over 100,000 employees, the rise of Google has provided years of case study material for bringing out the best and the worst in people. The Google effect aside, according to the findings in Civility in America 2019: Solutions for Tomorrow, Google is an outlier when it comes to civility in the workplace. 89% of Americans surveyed considered the level of workplace civility to be strong, down from 92% in 2018.
That’s right. Most Americans still feel that their workplace provides a bastion of civility in an uncivil time. Companies today can act like a haven from the incivility minefield that employees navigate online, in the media, and in public discourse. The workplace is where people with diverse backgrounds and opinions can pursue shared objectives, less encumbered by the divides and tensions that exist elsewhere. And for society and democracy at large, the workplace may just be the one institution that incubates a more constructive way of bringing people together.
Whether you are an emerging leader or serve as a senior executive, you can take ownership of maintaining high levels of civility in the workplace. Take some time today to deliberately practice decency, listen to learn, and be curious when confronted with a point of view that differs from your own.
Question: Is incivility in the air at your workplace?
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