Here are a few data points:
- The American Psychological Association estimates that workplace stress costs the US economy:
- $ 500 billion a year
- 550 billion workdays are lost annually
- 60 – 80 % of workplace accidents occur due to stress
- Healthcare costs are 46% higher for less stressed peers
- Employees on the receiving end of incivility react this way intentionally:
- 48% decrease their work effort
- 47% decrease the time they spend at work
- 38% decrease the quality of their work
- 78% quit their job
- 25% take their frustrations out on customers
If you work anywhere, you’ve seen this behavior. You may have attributed it to a lazy worker being a lazy worker. It’s more likely it’s a beat down worker. Managers can feel the ramifications: Fortune Magazine found that Fortune 1000 firms spend 7 weeks a year mending employee relationships instead of driving strategy.
In terms of emotional intelligence, the research clearly shows (and you’ve felt it), that the more negative response you are having, the more blind you are. As an example, check out this video about a Gorilla if you’ve not seen it before. Negative emotions create a fight, flight or freeze response, and this response has 4-hour minimal staying power (interested in learning about this? Check out our Power of You: EQ workshop for your team here). It doesn’t have to be words, in can also be the interpretation (or reality) of gestures and behaviors.
To practice civility requires an intention and self-awareness around how to change your own behaviors and words. It requires authentic respect, dignity, courtesy and kindness. People can see clearly when you are faking it. You can’t do this well if you don’t really respect the other person. Research in this book showed:
- Civil people progress faster in their careers
- Civil people get more opportunities to work with others
- Civility makes it far easier to build productive professional networks
- Civility tends to drive connection.
- Civil leaders have stronger teams and performance outcomes.
- Small civil gestures with authentic respect cause words and deeds to ripple far
- Civility is contagious