While working with a client this week, I conducted follow-up sessions with the participants of a workshop I recently presented. As with many conversations, these dialogues took a turn from the original agendas and evolved into more meaningful exchanges of ideas. Some of the discussions sounded like this:
“People just pass me in the hallway and never say hi.”
“I’ve had phone conversations where I ask the other person about their weekends, but they never reciprocate and ask me about mine.”
“No one seems to care about me personally. We are just expected to get our work done.”
“The workplace is just cold.”
Why was this happening at an organization that was relatively small in size in a building that was perfect for team connections?
Why is it even important to be kind and nurturing to people we work with?
How do leaders model civility and create a culture of concern for one another?
Here are some ways for leaders to cultivate civility:
ASK OTHERS ABOUT THEIR PERSONAL LIFE
Although we may want to keep our professional and personal worlds separate, the truth is they overlap a great deal. Our lives outside of work greatly impact our behaviors and attitudes at work. One way to begin this dialogue is by asking our colleagues how their weekend went. If they share stories about their families or outside activities, make sure to follow-up at a later date about these important people and social groups in their lives.
When leaders show people they are interested in their world beyond work, a more trusting relationship begins to blossom.
USE RESPECTFUL COMMUNICATION
Our choice of words and non-verbal cues such as tone, hand gestures, body language or volume represent our communication style. People around us can sense if we are angry or frustrated or joyful. Being aware of how we come across to others is so important if we want to foster meaningful relationships.
- Be clear
- Be positive
- Be caring
- Be open
- Be attentive
When leaders take care in using respectful language and body language, they open up the lines of communication.
BECOME A FAN
Help the individuals you connect with in your work world and personal life achieve their dreams. Be interested in whatever path they are choosing to follow and make it clear you support them and believe in their abilities to achieve that goal. Network with them to meet people in their field of interest. Give them a “shout-out” when they reach a goal or milestone. Share their accomplishments with your communities and empower them to continue their journey, even if things get difficult or challenging. Be that cheerleader and remind them of the confidence you have in their ability to succeed.
When leaders reveal their belief in others, they cultivate high performance and innovation.
Are you a leader who models civility?
How do you show others they matter and are valued?