Bad Behaviour is Bad for your Business

Posted on May 11, 2015 in Communication,Conflict Resolution,HR,Latest Articles,Workplace Behaviours . 0 Comments.

Incivility. It’s bad for business! 

Bad behaviour is bad for business. It does not matter what the label is, bullying or discrimination, harassment or vilification, bad behaviour is bad behaviour and it should NOT be acceptable. It should not be acceptable because it’s wrong, it undermines your people people and because  and it has real financial consequences for business.

Does it matter?
It matters. Civil behaviour builds community and enhances the workplace. Stephen l. Cater, Professor of Law at Yale Law School, has written eloquently on this topic. He writes that civility is not simply manners. It’s his central thesis that ‘civility’ is a much deeper commitment to respect of the other and he goes on to explain that is what ultimately underpins western democratic values. Bullying, discrimination and harassment all stem from a lack of respect for those around us.

You know about incivility…
It is generalsied bad behaviour and you know it’s there when:

  • People are saying that ‘there needs to be more respect shown around here by OTHERS’
  • People stop saying ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ to each other
  • People start complaining about passive aggressive behaviour (see our earlier blog)
  • People are leaving because they ‘no longer like working here’
  • People are feel insecure to raise issues of real concern to them
  • People openly or subtly ‘eye roll’ when colleagues talk in meetings

These are all signs that your workplace may have a major civility problem. One of the tragedies of this is that incivility is contagious and seems to be able to take on a life of its own. 

What’s the cost to your business?
A recent US study across 800 managers in 17 industries demonstrated just how great a cost to business it can be when incivility takes over. It found that when employees are on the receiving end of incivility:

  • 48 per cent intentionally decreased their work effort
  • 47 per cent intentionally decreased the time spent at work
  • 38 per cent intentionally decreased the quality of their work
  • 80 per cent lost work time worrying about the incident
  • 63 per cent lost work time avoiding the offender
  • 66 per cent said that their performance declined
  • 78 per cent said that their commitment to the organisation declined.

These directly feed into the amount of time managers (and HR) spend on dealing with with the aftermath of incivility, strained and broken workplace relationships. All of this, of course, directly impacts on individual and team performance and the loss of creativity.

What can you do?
Incivility does not self resolve. If you find that incivility is a problem in your workplace you need a specific plan to combat it. We recently supported a new leader who had stepped into a team demonstrating passive aggressive behaviours and a failure to take individual responsibility.  We coached him to lead his team to acknowledge and understand the dynamic and own what incivility looks like in their business.  It is only early days for this team.. Even though they’ve articulated and committed to their value,s putting them into practice and sustaining them will require both leadership, individual responsibility and peer scrutiny.

Do you have a plan?
What the plan to deal with incivility looks like and how it is achieved will vary from business to business and is something that we can help you with. Do your people have the skills to handle incivility? Is there an acknowledgment of the damage to the people and business or organisation that is caused by this behaviour?

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