Having worked with companies for more than 25 years on leadership development, civility, and performance, I have learned one thing for certain: every company has a distinct culture, either by design (intentional) or by default (unintentional).

I sometimes get asked about the relationship between micro-inequities and workplace incivility. With current racial tensions in the background, let’s take a look at this question.

Eye-rolling, heavy sighs, sarcasm, gossip, tardiness, deliberate withholding of information, and failure to greet or acknowledge others are all common forms of workplace incivility.

One of the most impactful ways to do so is by becoming is an “upstander,” i.e., an individual who acts when they see wrong. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only reinforced the importance of civility in the workplace, but it has impacted its implementation and practice as well.

In a recent workshop, as we were reviewing the list of behaviors that are considered workplace incivility, a manager exclaimed, “Are we now teaching people in the workplace basic manners? Is this what we have come to?!”

How often do employees at your company talk about colleagues who upset or offended them?

Do people really intend to be dismissive, belittling or inconsiderate when they engage in those seemingly insignificant behaviors that we refer to as workplace incivility?

Today’s workplace is ever-changing, but one thing remains constant: the most productive, profitable workplaces are also the ones that deliberately cultivate a culture of civility and respect.

If you have refrained from taking action to deal with incivility in your workplace, you must have had good reasons to do so.