The overall workplace environment is extremely important because it sets stage for everything that occurs at work, both good and bad.  As such, a solid foundation for the workplace withstands conflict and bumps in the road because it is balanced with positive behaviors and trust.  One of the ways that we can create a strong work environment is to practice good manners.

Using good manners in the workplace establishes an environment of politeness and civility.  Good manners include things such as, saying thank you, excuse me, I am sorry, greetings, and etc.  Using appropriate behaviors produces an environment of courteousness and workers good conduct becomes the expectation for everyone. 

Good manners also create effective work relationships.  It matters that we say thank you to someone after something they have done something for us.  It shows them appreciation for their work and it validates them as a worker.  This builds mutual respect and collegiality. 

I was in a difficult meeting once where important decisions needed to be made and it was clear there was tension between participants.  The leader was highly skilled in the use of manners and politeness.  The leader thanked people for their contributions yet moved the meeting a long so that decision-making occurred.  The leader did not allow anyone to dominate. When the person talking was taking too long, the leader thanked the person for their contribution but also nicely moved the meeting along.  The leader showed respect for the person but also all the other attendees as well.  It ended up being the best meeting I ever attended.  I attribute this to the leader’s skill development in civility.   

Using good manners seems like a basic skill that every worker has and that is being practiced in the workplace today.  However, in environments where persistent workplace aggression is festering or occurring, good manners are the first to go.  It is, therefore, important that leaders and workers validate politeness and reward consideration in the workplace.  At the same time, they need to discourage and deter bad behavior and manners.  Using good manners does not guarantee that aggression will not happen, but it does create the expectation of civility.  Using good manners and being civil does in fact encourage a strong work culture that can withstand and prevent persistent workplace aggression.

If you or someone you know is experiencing persistent workplace aggression, please contact me at jankircher@jankircher.com or (320) 309-2360. You can also visit my website at jankircher.com. Help is out there.

At times, every workplace struggles with maintaining a healthy work environment. Each worker in the environment is responsible for the preservation of the healthy work environment.  Since the workplace is interdependent, we can all improve and sustain the healthy work environment.  This takes a great deal of skill development for professionals.  Professionals are often expected to know how to behave in the workplace but are not taught the skills needed to maintain a positive work environment.  Therefore, professionals should always be open to self-improvement which directly influences the overall work culture.

Developing a clear understanding that the workplace is not devoid of conflict is extremely important for professionals.  Conflict is a normal part of the workplace and a healthy culture deals with conflict as it arises.  Individuals, therefore, need to manage conflict effectively.  This takes skill development and practice on the part of individuals as well as organizations.  It also takes a workplace culture that is open to talk about successes and failures when it comes to conflict resolution.  The individual and the environment need to be flexible, willing to change, and to learn from their successes and failures.

Professionals need to communicate effectively with their co-workers.  Effective communication includes active listening.  As such, hearing what our colleagues are really saying is just as important as being able to authentically communicate, both verbally and non-verbally, to our co-workers.  Another vital piece of communication is giving and receiving constructive feedback.  Constructive feedback requires providing information about the behavior of colleagues.  It does not allow for personal attacks.

Feedback also requires that professionals develop self-reflection skills.  This allows them to critically consider the impact of their behavior on others in the workplace.  For example, I might believe that I am just speaking loudly to my colleagues, but they interpret it as yelling.  Self-reflection requires that I reflect on their interpretation and change my professional behavior for the betterment of the workplace.  Self-reflection is key to the healthy workplace but extremely hard to master because it demands analysis of our own behavior.  Self-reflection mandates we be willing to change our behavior even when we believe we are not doing anything wrong.

These are just a few vital pieces of developing a healthy workplace.  The healthy workplace takes works and commitment from the entire organization and individuals. But it is necessary to maintain a safe place to work where workers are productive and content. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing persistent workplace aggression, please contact me at jankircher@jankircher.com or (320) 309-2360. You can also visit my website at www.jankircher.com. Help is out there!!