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Why Being Respectful to your Coworkers is Good for Business

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

Excerpt from a TEDTalk by Christine Porath, Management Researcher:

What is incivility? It’s disrespect or rudeness. It includes different behaviors, from mocking or belittling someone, to teasing people in ways that sting, to telling offensive jokes, to texting in meetings.

A study on the effects of incivility on performance showed that it makes people less motivated: 66% cut back their efforts, 80% lost work time and 12% left their job. And witnesses’ performance decreases too: 25% worse performance and 45% fewer ideas. The number one reason why we see so much of it? Stress. People feel overwhelmed.

The company Cisco estimated conservatively that incivility was costing them $12M a year.

Employees who are seen as civil are 2x more likely to be viewed as leaders, with 13% higher performance. Why does civility pay? People see you as a powerful and unique combination of two key characteristics: Warm and competent, friendly and smart.

How can you lift people up and make people feel respected? By thanking people, listening attentively, humbly asking questions, acknowledging others, and smiling.

In a civil environment, you can be more productive, creative, helpful, happy and healthy.

We can do better. We can be more mindful and take actions to lift others up around us at work, at home, online, in schools and in our communities.

In every interaction, ask yourself: "Who do I want to be?"

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