by Jim Bruce
Ron Ashkenas, managing partner of Schaffer Consulting and author of The GE Work-Out and Simply Effective begins his essay in the HBR blog with the declaration that “Respect towards others should be standard behavior in the workplace, regardless of role, rank, or reputation.” Sounds like a reasonable proposition, not only for work but for all of life. Certainly, in the not-to-distant past, the majority of work was either face-to-face or via real-time. These personal interactions allowed people to get to know each other and create human connections. They also fostered courtesy.
In today’s world, however, most of the communication is neither face-to-face nor real-time. The result is that much more of today’s work is conducted impersonally, which may mean that there is less pressure to observe social standards. Recent studies support this possibility.
In the absence of high-touch, personal communications, managers are reporting significant breakdowns in courtesy and respect, exacerbated by workplace stress.
Ashkenas makes two suggestions to restore civility on your team:
Perhaps this is an issue that you need to address with your staff and your team. At a minimum, do stop and think about opportunities you have this week to improve the civility in your environment.
. . . jim