How to Prevent Employees from Reaching Their Boiling Point
Here is an excerpt from an article written by Mohini Kundu for Talent Management magazine. To check out all the resources and sign up for a free subscription to the TM and/or Chief Learning Officer magazines published by MedfiaTec, please click here.
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When employee tensions mount in the workplace, incivility can take a toll on engagement and performance. Use these tips to defuse such situations, lest things get out of hand.
Yelling, abuse and disrespect — these behaviors are becoming more commonplace in the work environment, contributing to a culture of incivility, which may lead to decreased engagement and high turnover rates.
Thirty-eight percent of American workers say the workplace has become more uncivil and disrespectful compared to a few years ago, according to a June 2011 study by KRC Research titled “Civility in America.”
“There’s a real psychological depression out there that is impacting how people are responding to each other,” said Jeff Cohen, executive coaching expert and founder of J M Cohen Associates. Discouragement and desperation that emerged as a byproduct of the unstable business environment combined with new trends in social interaction appear to be taking a toll on corporate communication.
Stress and unhappiness — much of it pertaining to the economy — are uncommonly high amongst workers today, and it is beginning to affect employee culture. “People are becoming more fearful for their jobs, even panicky, and when things go awry they do one of two things: They pull into their shell or they start lashing out at other folks,” Cohen said.
Technology may also be partly to blame for the deteriorating state of communication today. Meg Clara, director of recruiting and human resources at Caiman Consulting, criticized the disruptiveness of electronic communication such as texts and emails in forming personal and professional relationships. By conducting conversations through devices, workers lose out on person-to-person interaction and the etiquette that goes with it.
As a society we are forgetting the importance of looking each other in the eye when we speak, and old-fashioned courtesy has all but become a thing of the past. This trend is resulting not just in more frequent occurrences of disrespect, yelling, underhandedness and abuse in the workplace, but also decreased productivity and higher turnover.
In January, Harvard Business Review reported that half of employees who encountered instances of incivility at work intentionally decreased their efforts. The article also showed more than a third of them decreased the quality of their work.
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To read the complete article, please click here.
To check out the resources at the Institute for Civility, please click here.
Mohini Kundu is an editorial intern at Talent Management magazine.
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