In their article, “The Price of Incivility” (Harvard Business Review, Jan/Feb 2013), Christine Porath and Christine Pearson note that much of workplace rudeness is due more to thoughtlessness than actual malice, and they suggest the following strategies for team leaders:
- Refrain from emailing—or for that matter, checking email—during team presentations and meetings. Give your attention to the speaker not only because it’s the right thing to do but also because others will take their cues from your behavior.
- Avoid teasing or sarcastic behavior with your direct reports. It’s too easy for people to misunderstand your intentions and interpret it as bullying.
- Always give credit to others and take responsibility no matter what the circumstances. As the leader you are always responsible for what goes wrong. Giving credit away consistently builds trust and morale.
These seemingly minor habits can have a huge impact over time because they are subtle and therefore are easy to overlook—yet they add up. Even small changes like these can do much to improve morale and enhance team interaction.