#WATWB: Civility and Reward in the Workplace

I attended a meeting last week with members of the Employee Services Program Committee. I’ve been on this committee for many years and it’s one of the assignments I have been honored to be part of, a true joy. Our group actively shares ideas for employee wellness in the form of health challenges, training events, recognition/award events, a special “giving” challenge during the holiday season, and whatever we can come up with to make work life better within the organization. It’s always been a great group of people to work with, a committee based on respect, teamwork and fresh ideas.

One of the members related how their office is creating “stars” out of their employees. Nomination papers are located next to a box (decorated with stars, of course) and anyone can select a co-worker for their helpful action or kind words during the month. Then, once a month at an office meeting, all of the nominations are read aloud, producing many smiles as the box is passed around the table so everyone has a chance to read about each other’s positive accomplishment. Afterwards, one employee’s nomination is pulled out of the box and they become the “Star of the Month,” with their name posted on the bulletin board above the box, for all to see until the next meeting. It’s civility, respect and engagement at its best.

Which brings me to a second piece of the October #WATWB post. The following Ted Talk was posted to our agency’s website this month. The talk focuses on the positive aspects of civility in the work place. People getting along with people. It sounds simple this “getting along,” but in the current world climate that is not all rainbows and puppy dog tails, civility among employees does not always reign.

This Ted Talk is about 15 minutes, but well worth the time. Christine reflects on the positive effects of having a civil workplace, of people getting along. I can attest to this, from working with wonderful people in my office to the Employee Services Committee, and others within the agency. When there is cohesiveness and a peaceful, enjoyable atmosphere in the office, the stressful days are easier to tolerate and much can be accomplished. This sets an example of how people in the workplace can be a shining light in embracing a culture of positive community and civil behavior.


watw-turquoise-badge-275-x241-whiteThe “We are the World” BlogfestΒ is in its second year of a heartfelt journey. This blogfest’s goal is to spread the message of light, hope and love in today’s world. We are challenging all participants to share the positive side of humanity. This month’s co-hosts, Eric Lahti, Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Mary J. Giese and Roshan Radhakrishnan,Β welcome participants and encourage all to join in during future months. #WATWB is a blog hop on the last Friday of every month. Click HERE to check out the intention and rules of the blogfest and feel free to sign up at any time. You are always welcome!

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42 responses to #WATWB: Civility and Reward in the Workplace

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You are right, Damyanti. I’m not sure what happened to civil conversation, why some people choose negative behavior over respect and diplomacy. Maybe fear? Or stubbornness?

      • I think it is also a sense of entitlement, and lack of compassion. Our values in earlier times made sure that the discourse remained polite–politeness now has a bad name. Being nice to people is often seen as a sign of weakness.

      • bikerchick57 says:

        Seeing nice as a sign of weakness is perpetuated by weak people – those who are not strong enough to put aside their differences and have a civil conversation with others. Being nice and civil and polite is very much a sign of someone with inner strength and self worth and who might just have the qualities of a great leader.

  1. Dan Antion says:

    You wouldn’t think we would need to talk about civility in the workplace, but it really is necessary. I’ll circle back to the Ted Talk. I like the idea of calling attention to people for positive accomplishments. Sometimes, it’s the little things that people do that make a huge difference.

    Thanks for this post and for co-hosting, Mary.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I often wonder why we have to talk about civility at all. It’s a much easier course to take than being uncivil and it makes for a much better work and community environment. I really love what our one office is doing to make a difference in employee lives. It is important for their spiritual welfare.

  2. Nice recognition program and good reminder for all. I do not understand how we, as a society, came to be where we are, but it is not something to be proud of. In a lot of cases these days, animals treat their fellow animals better than we treat our fellow humans. I’m not sure how we make it better, but maybe it is just one small step at a time by each of us towards a better world.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I believe you are correct, Judy, in that we all need to take a step toward a better world and do what we can to make it so. Be civil, love your neighbor, reflect kindness. It’s really much easier than being nasty and hateful, and it makes for a happier existence.

  3. G Angela says:

    This post is so relevant in today’s world, specially when we are talking about productive work environment, thanks for sharing the inspiring video..

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You are welcome. I think it is known that a cohesive, happy work place is more productive. Then again, it seems to be a difficult concept for some.

  4. Civility is indeed the answer to relating well to co-workers, friends, and family. The Ted speaker offered interesting statistics to illustrate the importance of friendliness in the workplace.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I’m glad she shared those statistics so that no one feels it’s just one of those “touchy feely” talks. Thanks for reading and commenting, Gail. I appreciate your time!

  5. Shilpa Garg says:

    Recognizing positive accomplishments at workplace is a simple thing to do but it goes a long way to boost the morale of the team and thereby makes the work environment more productive and friendly too. Thanks for this dose of positivity, Mary πŸ™‚

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I agree Shilpa, and you’re welcome. If every workplace focused on positive recognition, think of what could be accomplished in addition to the many happy employees walking this earth.

  6. Susan Scott says:

    Thanks Mary. Lovely initiative in your workplace. Did you mean ‘commiserates’? Sounds rather joyful rather? πŸ™‚ I’ll listen to the TED talk sometime over the weekend. Hopefully she’ll show how it is and was that we lack civility. Thank you for co-hosting and have a great weekend!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Gah! Susan! I did not mean to use that word. I’ll have to update. Thanks for coming by and reading. Hope you get back to the Ted Talk. It really was worth the 15 minutes…in fact, I watched it twice.

      • I love Ted Talks and this one is no different. I have worked at some of the worst and some great, motivating, rewarding$ or validation. A positive environment starts at the top and there in lies many horrible companies. πŸ™‚

      • bikerchick57 says:

        There are reasons why uncivil people sit at the top. One is the love of money and profit rather than the love of people and honoring them with respect. I’m not sure why leaders and managers do not understand that in treating employees well, offering them reward and validation, creates a happy and motivated atmosphere…that will make any company successful.

  7. joey says:

    Great share. The effect of stress on the body. Oof. I lived 44 years before I ever worked for a truly horrible person. I couldn’t keep doing it, either. I don’t know how her father made it 10 years. We have a new person in our office, and the first thing I did was tell her our bosses are exactly as they seem. They are good-hearted and ethical. To which she said, “Oh what a relief!” Sure, I showed her the office, but I put her right at ease πŸ™‚
    Civility DOES mean different things to different people, and trying is the least we can do!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I’ve only had one horrible boss in my life. At training yesterday, the speaker referred to them as vampires…”I vant to suck the life blood out of you!” Thank God I escaped the vampire.
      Kudos to you for being the bearer of good news to the new girl. I bet she went home happy that she took the job.

      • joey says:

        I’d agree with the vampire thing. I’m so glad you and I are both in positive environments πŸ™‚

  8. simonfalk28 says:

    “Incivility is a bug. It’s contagious.” Apt and powerful observation. How we wish it were not so, Mary. Thanks for this.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      It really can be contagious. We had incivility affect one of our office several years ago and I can tell you it was ugly. The funny thing is that although the perpetrators thought they were being “cool,” no one else thought it. Who wants to be recognized as “THAT person?” and why? It always makes me wonder…

  9. pjlazos says:

    Ah, civility. Where have you gone? Thank goodness for people like this still spreading the word.

  10. Kalpana says:

    This is a much needed post and one I’m going to share with HR at my place of work. Thank you for writing about this. Your post makes me believe we can change the cut throat culture at work.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You’re welcome, Kalpana. Thank you for sharing with your HR Department. I hope it starts a conversation about civil change in your workplace.

  11. This is a wonderful idea. But I wonder if part of the problem is that people don’t understand what civility is, or that they have different definitions of it. I was having a political conversation with someone on Facebook and I think that the person I was talking to truly believed he was being civil. But he kept using inflammatory, hyperbolic language and making broad negative assumptions about groups of people. It wasn’t name calling in the sense of “so’s your old man” or “you idiot” or anything like that. But it was still a repetitive, negative cant, full of falsehoods and half-truths, that couldn’t be reasoned with or even really engaged with constructively. Finally I felt like the only way to maintain civility was to end the conversation and not go back. We can’t do this in the workplace, we have to find ways to keep talking.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You’re right, there are those that don’t know the meaning of civility. I’ve seen many of the type of conversations you had on Facebook, and it is truly sad to see that people cannot be reasonable and have a respectful, civil conversation. I don’t understand the thought process of these people, why they believe it’s okay to behave this way in the office or in their personal life. Is it fear? Ignorance? Bigotry? Lack of respect? All? I wish we had an answer in the name of peace.

      • Me too, I wish I had an answer. This person can be civil in 1-on-1 conversation and in person. I think social media and TV adds a performance aspect, that is very destructive. People are performing for their followers. The President does this all the time and he is very skilled at playing to and pushing all the right buttons for a certain audience. We’ve gotten to the point where the performance has taken over and there is no “there” there. But maybe the performance aspect can be used for good. The speaker alludes to that at the end of the talk: if you are civil, you are seen as both warm and competent. Civility is the performance of a true leader.

  12. Civility and reward in the workplace. What’s that? For 18 years my co-workers and I literally tolerated each other. Those co-workers pretended to be my friends and ended up being 2 faced. The managers turned a blind-eye to wrongdoing. I could go on and on.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I’m so sorry you had to endure that for 18 years. I understand to a degree in that I have a friend in a similar position with a co-worker. Her boss understands the situation, as does HR, but both seem to be inept at doing anything about it. Embracing civility in the workplace should be on the top of the “to do” list for all manager and supervisors. I’m surprised at how many people are hired into those positions that don’t have a clue about keeping a non-toxic work environment. I hope you are out of that situation now and in a much better place.

  13. JoAnna says:

    I’m not at all surprised that incivility increases mistakes. We are human after all. Many of our problems on every level could be solved, or at least improved with civility. Thanks for bringing this to light.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You’re welcome, Joanna. I believe the saying, “Treat others as you want to be treated,” comes into play here. It seems so simple, yet continues to be a mystery to some. We have to keep doing our part to be civil and hope it rubs off on others.

  14. Pradeep says:

    A smile or a kind word can go a long way in the workplace where it’s often tension ridden for various reasons. It makes life so much easy, we all feel much better and the world too becomes a much better to live in and enjoy.

  15. hilarymb says:

    Hi Mary – what a great idea for the @WATWB post … love it – and too knowing about Christine Porath and her work with leading organisations helping to spread civility and politeness to us … cheers Hilary

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