by Anna Post
The Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics has invited me to lead their daily online discussion each day this week. I'll be talking with them about creating a civil workplace, and will be posting my discussion topics each morning here, as well. Please join the conversation in the comments section below.
Monday: How Do You Create a Civil Workplace?
Creating a civil workplace sounds like a terrific goal, doesn't it? Who could argue that that's something for a company to encourage and cultivate? And yet, civility, and its companion etiquette, is often ignored as a soft skill not truly essential to business. Some even feel it's anathema to efficiency and drive-"Nice guys finish last." Or, that it's an add-on at most: Nice, but not essential.
Civility in the workplace is cultivated from two angles: using basic manners daily and treating others with what I call the principles of etiquette: consideration, respect and honesty. The first, using good manners, is expressed with actions such as saying hello, using please, thank you and you're welcome (in speech and email), and being on time. The second, being considerate, respectful and honest, has much more to do with how we treat and speak to one another-colleague, boss, client-both on a daily basis and in those moments when there isn't a specific rule or manner to guide us. It's often synonymous with professionalism these days.
What do you think: Is civility relevant in the workplace? Can you be professional without being civil? And where does civility in the workplace come from: Management setting explicit standards? An HR document? Personal example? Focused exercises geared to increase awareness?
Tomorrow we'll take a look at some of the ties between civility and ethics.