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Be nice at work!


When should you be nice at work? The answer is “all the time” and doing so can lead to advancement and productivity.

That’s part of the conclusion presented by Christine Porath, Associate Professor at Georgetown University McDonough School of Business, in her recent New York Times Opinion piece, No Time to Be Nice (June 19. 2015). According to Porath, “rudeness and bad behavior” have significantly increased at work in recent years causing a myriad of problems both for individuals and companies.

Incivility can cause people to miss information right in front of them decreasing performance. It can squash creativity and impede promotion. While some perceive being civil and polite as weak, studies show that “civility elicits perceptions of warmth and competence.”  Additionally, studies by Morgan McCall, Jr. and Michael Lombardo from the Center for Creative Leadership, found that “the No. 1 characteristic associated with an executive’s failure is an insensitive, abrasive or bullying style.”

Want to advance – want to be a leader – be civil!

So, how do you do it?  Porath suggests it can be simple. She tried an experiment – smile at people. Others have banned cell phones and laptops from meetings so people will be fully present and connected in person.  The Ochsner Health System in Louisiana created the “10/5 way” – make eye contact if you come within 10 feet of someone and say hello if you come within 5.  The outcome, according to Ochsner is greater patient satisfaction and referrals.

I suggest you re-read that email you are getting ready to send and make sure it conveys your message in a civil manner.  Try saying hello to everyone within 5 feet. Perhaps this can be the start of the NC State Faculty Ombuds “Be Nice” initiative for Fall 2015!

Hope you are having a great summer and see you in the Fall!

And, since you are within 5 feet – here’s a smile and a Hello!