" 'Every day, I get nothing but attitude from the woman in the next cubicle ... this situation has me ready to explode.' " - from The Growing Problem of Workplace Incivility
As kids, many of us were instructed in subtle ways by grownups that there are a few criteria to consider before opening our mouths to say something: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Flash forward to our professional selves: The Tonka trucks have been replaced by Nissan Sentras, our desks have tripled in size, our ham and cheese sandwiches are secured in slightly fancier Ziplocs. Those three criteria for polite communication haven't changed one iota in all that time—so why have so many on the staff never been able to internalize them?
Marie McIntyre, Ph.D., author of the weekly syndicated column Your Office Coach, recently took a webinar audience on a rocky (and sometimes just plain funny) tour of workplace incivility. The exhibits included people you might recognize: a woman so dour and antisocial that her funeral parlor aura makes her unbearable; a man whose habit of correcting everyone is driving the team crazy; even a well-meaning manager whose hands-on guidance is being taken as mere meddling, resulting in lots of talk behind his back about him "acting superior"—whatever that means.
In this clip from the webinar, Marie instructed the audience in the proper way to complain about one's co-workers when normal solutions have failed.
And here is her guidance for managers on the building blocks of an office free (well, relatively free) of negative forces.