Decency at Work

One casualty of our over-stimulated, stressed-out times is basic decency toward others. There is often so much pressure to achieve our work goals we don’t consider how we interact–and what our actions lead others to conclude about us. It’s all about getting things done.

How often have you been asked “how are you?” knowing that the other person didn’t even register your response? Or been in a check out line where the cashier didn’t acknowledge you other than to tell you the amount owed? Or were speaking with someone when their phone rang and they took it out and checked it without batting an eye? Do you to want to work with people who treat others this way?

Culture is changed one person at a time. If we want our workplaces to be more humane it’s up to us to make sure we’re walking the talk. Look at your own behavior. Are you letting work deliverables get in the way of common decency? Have you lost sight of what your behavior is communicating about you/your values to others? Before you speak, do you ask yourself whether your message is truthful, necessary, and kind?

Blaming others for what’s not working at work just perpetuates the problem. Be part of the solution and examine your own behavior at work first.

Amanda Mitchell is an executive coach and strategist specializing in helping senior executives deal with disruptive drama within their teams. An advertising agency veteran, she experienced first-hand the business implications of corporate drama both with her Fortune 500 clients and within the Manhattan ad agency she led. She founded Our Corporate Life ( to help executives solve the problems no one wants to deal with. She has been published in Bloomberg Businessweek, and quoted in Fast Company,, and She lives in New Jersey with her family.

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