It wasn’t until I first entered 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 personal brand expert and certified image consultant, I work with many clients to teach them the importance of embracing civility into their everyday work life to help build and sustain long-term business relationships. You might be asking yourself what exactly does “civility” mean. 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. I define civility as providing a safe, comfortable, and professional setting 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 workplace situation (positive or negative), that employee will handle it with civility.
Here are a few tips you can start with:
- Acknowledge colleagues with a hello, good morning, good night, etc.
- Say, thank you, please, and excuse me when necessary and applicable.
- Refrain from stating negative comments about a colleague, manager, or the company, including posting to social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
- Refrain from talking negatively 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 often 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.
- Dress appropriately 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 present for your coworkers – refrain from texting or email browsing when someone is presenting or speaking to you.
- Be respectful of personal space.
- Say what you mean; mean what you say.
What other acts would you add?
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