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Has Workplace Incivility Impacted Your Life?

Has Workplace Incivility Impacted Your Life?

    My first boss disliked me so much I thought I had hurt one of her relatives.  She’d call me into her office and yell at me for dressing too casually, interrupting colleagues in meetings and other infractions real and imagined.  I didn’t know how to talk to her but I couldn’t stand the situation anymore, so I quit the job.

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    The next time I had to work with someone who was mean to me, I was stuck.  I really liked the job, and since he was an equal-opportunity offender, I knew his wrath wasn’t personal.  Others avoided him, but I sat down and asked how we could work better together.  My directness shocked him into better behavior from that point on.

    Incivility on the Rise

    In August, there was a flurry of press coverage around what the American Psychological Association deemed as an increase in “workplace incivility,” or a form of organizational deviance characterized by behaviors that violate respectful workplace norms – aka rudeness.

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    Weber Shandwick and Powell Tate’s Civility in America 2011 poll reported 43 percent of Americans as saying they’ve experienced incivility at work, and 38 percent as believing that the workplace is increasingly disrespectful.  Sixty-seven percent of respondents cited a critical need for civility training.

    It’s a Jungle Out There

    Civility training?  Is that a little extreme?  Not necessarily, as the workplace is undeniably rough these days.  Employees are doing the jobs of two, sometimes three people, and the environment is harried, stressful, and constantly changing.  Many haven’t received pay raises in a few years.  Unfortunately, employees are increasingly likely to take out their angst on each other. 

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    Psychological Consequences

    I recently had the chance to chat with Bob Sutton, a professor of management at Stanford University and the author of “The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t.” Bob assured me that he’d seen in his research that going through life angry causes long-term physical and mental problems, and that ridding oneself of dysfunctional conflict is a must.

    How to Break Free

    Bob explained that many difficult relationships are the result of a vicious cycle of offense and revenge, or one person trying to one-up the other.  He suggested that we stop trying to win, or get back at the other person for behaving this way.  We must not take the situation personally and look at it as another workplace problem we need to solve.

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    The most effective way to do this is to listen to the other person and put yourself in her shoes.  Determine what’s meaningful to her and help her find ways to get it.   If things have escalated to the point where every interaction is painful, take her to lunch and address the conflict proactively.  Tell her that the relationship isn’t going as well as you’d like, and ask what you can do to improve things.

    Your Self-Worth is Most Important

    Despite how hard you try, some difficult people will persist in their negative behavior.  If you constantly feel personally attacked and it starts to take a toll on your well-being, look for ways to get out of the situation.  As Bob said, some people are so toxic they’re not worth it.

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    Last Updated on October 22, 2019

    How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

    How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

    When someone says, “I can’t do it” . . . I say to myself, “What do you mean you can’t do it?” Maybe you don’t want to do it, but saying you “can’t” do it is a completely different story.

    With the right mindset, positive attitude, and a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, the only thing that is holding you back is yourself.

    Can’t is a terrible word and it has to be taken out of your vocabulary.

    By saying you can’t do something, you’re already doubting yourself, submitting to defeat, and you’re making that barrier around your life tighter.

    So today, right now, we are going to remove this word for good.

    From now on there is nothing we can’t do.

    “Attitude is Tattoo”

    Your attitude is everything; it’s your reason, your why and how, your facial expression, emotions, body language, and potentially the end result. How you approach an opportunity, and the result of it, is solely based on you — not your boss or your co-worker or friend.

    If you enter a business meeting with a sour attitude, that negative energy can spread like wildfire. People can also feel it — maybe even taste it. This is not an impression you want to leave.

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    Now imagine you enter a business meeting with a positive attitude, that whatever happens in here is going to be your result, in your control, not someone else’s. Of course, we can’t always win, but even if the outcome is negative, your attitude and perception can turn it into a positive. The question is: can you do it?

    Of course you can, because there is nothing in this world you can’t do.

    It’s much better to be known for your positive attitude — your poise, your energy, the reason why things go so well because you are able to maintain such character. A negative attitude is easy. It’s easy to complain, it’s easy to be mad, and it’s even easier to do nothing to change it.

    When I say your “attitude is tattoo”, it sounds permanent. Tattoos can be removed, but that’s not the point. Your attitude is like a tattoo because you wear it. People can see it and sometimes, they will judge you on it. If you maintain a negative attitude, then it is permanent until you change it.

    Change your attitude and I guarantee the results change as well.

    Believe You Can Do It

    Do you know why most people say “can’t” and doubt themselves before trying anything?

    It’s our lack of self-confidence and fear on many different levels. The one thing we have to purge from ourselves is fear — fear of bad results, fear of change, fear of denial, fear of loss, the fear that makes us worry and lose sleep. Worrying is the same as going outside with an umbrella, waiting for rain to hit it. Stop worrying and move on.

    Confidence is fragile: It builds up slowly, but can shatter like glass. Project your confidence and energy into believing in yourself. This is a very important and groundbreaking step — one that is usually the hardest to take. Start telling yourself you can do something, anything, and you will do it the best to your ability. Remove doubt, remove fear, and stick with positive energy.

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    Embrace Failure

    Do not fear failure. Do not run away from it. Face it, learn from it, grow, and take action. Just remember: You will never know success if you have never failed.

    Your confidence will bolster after embracing these facts. You will be immune to demoralizing results, and instead you will find ways to fix it, improve upon it, and make it better than before. You will learn to never say “can’t,” and will realize how many more opportunities you can create by removing that one word.

    Don’t let one simple and ugly word plague your confidence. You’re better and stronger than that.

    Start Making the Change

    But to actually start the process of change is very challenging.

    Why is that?

    Fear? Time? Don’t know how — or where — to start?

    It’s hard because what we’re doing is unlearning what we know. We are used to doing things a certain way, and chances are we’ve been doing them for years.

    So here are some ways that I avoid using the word “can’t”, and actually take the steps to put forth the change that I wish to see. I hope you can incorporate these methods into your life.

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    Write down What You Want to Change

    Write it on post-its, notecards, whatever makes you comfortable — something you will always see. I usually write mine on post-its and put them all over the wall behind my monitor so I always see them.

    Tell a Friend and Talk About It

    Discussing your goals, what you want to change, is very effective when you say it out loud and tell another person other than yourself. It’s almost like saying, hey, I bet I can do it — watch me.

    When you fulfill that goal and tell your friend, it feels rewarding and will motivate you to do it again in a different aspect. Who knows? Maybe your friend adopts the same mindset as you.

    Stop Yourself from Saying the Forbidden Word

    Sometimes,I can’t control myself in public when I’m with friends, so I have to be careful with the words I use so I don’t embarrass or insult anyone.

    Treat the word “can’t” as the worst word you can possibly use. Stop yourself from saying it, mid-sentence if you must, and turn your whole perspective around — you can do it, you will do it, and nothing is impossible!

    Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

    You think this change will be overnight? No way. This is a practice. Something you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life from now until forever.

    As I said earlier, you are unlearning what you know. You know how easy it is to say you can’t do something, so by unlearning this easy practice, you’re self-disciplining yourself to live without boundaries.

    Practice this everyday, a little at a time, and before you know it, the word can’t will not be part of your language.

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    Do Anything That Can Relieve Your Uncertainty

    When I catch myself saying I can’t do something or I don’t know something, looking up information on that action or subject, doing research, educating yourself, relieves that uncertainty.

    Sometimes, we think we can’t do something because the whole idea of it seems too large. We skip the small steps in our head and only focus on the end.

    Before you say you can’t do something, rewind and slow down a little bit. Focus on what the first step is, then the next. Take it a step at a time, and before you know it you will have done something you previously thought you couldn’t do.

    Final Thoughts

    You know what you must do. The first step is right now. Once you begin this habit, and really start noticing some change, you’ll realize the door to opportunity is everywhere.

    The funny thing is: Those doors have always been there. The evil word that we no longer use put a veil over our eyes because that’s how powerful that word is.

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    Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

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