How do companies promote themselves as havens for civility and respect in an uncivil age?
Do not tolerate incivility: Companies need to consistently and clearly communicate their principles, rules and policies
Companies are perfectly positioned to promote themselves as havens for civility and respect in an uncivil age. But how should they go about it?
Here are some suggestions:
– Lead by example:
A company positioning itself as a refuge does not avoid controversy. Rather, it takes a stand even on contentious issues if they are consistent with company principles.
Today’s employees work not only to make a living but also to achieve meaningful social goals. A growing number of CEOs are also taking positions on political and social issues, which makes it easier for employees to internalise these values.
– Make work safe for discussion and conflict:
Good corporate leaders know the importance of embracing diverging viewpoints and making the workplace safe for raising concerns. Employees also need to feel comfortable voicing their opinions when they disagree on work-related issues.
Managers should set the tone by encouraging employees to speak up, teaching them how to have difficult conversations and managing any disagreements that arise.
– Do not tolerate incivility:
Companies need to consistently and clearly communicate their principles, rules and policies so that people know what behaviour is expected and everyone can be held accountable.
– Take ownership of civility:
Businesses should work hard to maintain their reputations as bastions of civility. They should provide civility training alongside existing programmes that highlight the company’s ethics or teach workers how to prevent sexual harassment. – Copyright Harvard Business Review 2017
Previously published in The Irish Times.
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