3 Fundamentals of Civility


What is the true cost in incivility in the workplace? And how do we turn toxic workplace culture into a positive, enriching environment?

Those were some of the questions that Christine Porath, associate professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, addressed in her concurrent session on Wednesday.

Based on her groundbreaking “rudeness research results,” she noted that the toll of incivility manifests itself in almost every metric of the workplace, including performance and creativity. It has a way of holding people down, and makes them – in her words – “small.” Civil people perform better and are more likely to be viewed as a leader.

Porah emphasized that warmth and competence are NOT mutually exclusive; that they co-exist in strong, civil leaders.

She then identified and expanded on the three fundamentals of civility:

  • Smile – Puts people at ease and builds rapport
  • Acknowledge others – The key to building relationships
  • Listening – Be there completely, and get in the moment

Porath took the audience through the “Cycle of Civility”: from recruitment, to coaching, to scoring (measurement), and culminating with practice.

In closing, Porath reminded us that civility makes work better … lifts people up … and builds a positive culture.