It wasn’t until I entered into the world of image consulting that the term “civility” became one of my favorite and treasured words. It’s a word that I try to live by every day despite the fact we encounter acts of incivility on a daily basis. As a child, my parents would teach me to “rise above it.” This provided the training ground I needed to help navigate through the corporate world as I became an adult.
Today, as a certified image consultant and personal branding expert, I work with many clients on teaching them the importance of embracing civility into their every day work life to help build and sustain long term business relationships. You might be asking yourself what exactly “civility” means. According to various dictionary resources, civility can be defined as the act of showing regard for others; manners; politeness; or a polite act or expression. For me, I define civility as providing a safe, comfortable and professional setting in order to build trust between those I am with.
Being civil in the workplace is critical to one’s success. It helps to project a positive and professional personal brand that can be leveraged for future career opportunities. Employers want to have confidence in their employees that in any given any workplace situation (positive or negative), that employee will handle with civility.
Here is a short list to help you start incorporating acts of civility into the workplace in hopes that it becomes contagious! What other acts would you add?
- Acknowledge colleagues with a hello, good morning, good night, etc.
- Say thank you, please, excuse me when necessary and applicable.
- Refrain from stating negative comments about a colleague, manager or the company and this includes posting to social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
- Refrain from talking negative about a situation and instead offer a solution.
- If you see a colleague struggling with a project, offer to help.
- Own your mistakes. We all make them and more often than not, we learn a tremendous amount by making them.
- Be respectful of cultural differences in the workplace.
- Communicate respectfully and don’t follow that old saying “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”
- Respect different points of view.
- Respect and practice company policy and protocol (i.e., no web surfing during company time, spending company funds on personal items, etc.)
- Dress appropriate for the office and in a manner that illustrates professionalism.
- Pay it forward whenever possible – always remember what or when someone did something nice for you and pass it on to the next person.
- Provide “constructive” criticism and not “destructive” criticism.
- Respect project timelines.
- Be gracious for company perks; however big or small you deem them to be.
- Acknowledge a job well done.
- Respect meeting times.
- Be in the moment – refrain from blackberry browsing when someone is speaking to you.
- Be respectful of personal space.
- Say what you mean, mean what you say.