Civility is in the Trickles Not the Waves: Books on Civility in the Workplace by Christine Porath and Richard Carlson

17 Apr

April is Workplace Conflict Awareness Month.  Recently I came across a book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff at Work by Richard Carlson. This is a branch off of another general book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s All Small Stuff which basically spoke about how not to let little things take over your life. The motto of the “at Work” book was “simple ways to minimize stress and conflict while bringing out the best in yourself and others”. This rang true and deeper after I came across a TED Talk video with Christine Porath.

In this 15 minute video, Christine talks about incivility and how it affects people in the workplace. She goes on to talk about how lifting people up in the workplace has a better outcome of total workplace success than tearing them down. Many variations of tearing one down can also be a determining factor on how both the “tearer” and the “teared” may be affected, because disrespecting a coworker not only affect them. Therefore, it is beneficial to be civil to others as well as yourself because in the end, it will come back to you.

I find that reading can be a form of exercise and if you’re thinking of ways to exercise how to be proactive in improving yourself, you should check out Richard Carlson’s Don’t Sweat Series as well as Christine Porath’s Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace.

It’s not about doing all the right small things and doing a lot of it. It’s about being intentional in the small things that you do. Respecting your coworkers is not just about the workplace and being successful. It’s also about being civil and accomplished as a human being to the world as a whole. To your parents, your family, your kids. It’s about something bigger than being a good boss or worker. Incivility ultimately boils down to who you want to be at the end of the day.  Incivility may be subjective but all in all being civil is universal.

Aggression, insubordination, mocking, impoliteness, rudeness, shouting and being short with someone. These are more obvious forms of incivility. Ones that hurt you to the core the moment it sparks. But what are the most dangerous forms of incivility? I believe it to be true that small things matter most. That attention to detail really is key to success and failure and this holds true for workplace behavior as well.

A workplace is an environment that on average we spend 30 percent of our week. This is whole other family – a makeshift home – we have to work on revitalizing the foundation daily. It’s an important environment with important tasks and should be deemed the respect as one’s actual home is.

Written by:
Sherissa Salas
Adult Programming Assistant

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