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Leading with civility: Part 1 of 4

Oct 14, 2021

(Over the next two months, I’ll be sharing a series of posts on the topic of civility.)

I just attended the Global Leadership Summit 2021 and a particular quote struck me:

“We’re defined by how we treat each other.”
Shola Richards - Founder & CEO, Go Together Global; Workplace Civility Expert)

Why bother with civility at work? 

A recent survey showed that when workers were ill-treated by their co-workers or superiors:

  • 25% took out their frustrations on customers
  • 48% intentionally decreased their work effort
  • 78% dropped their commitment to the organization

In medicine, our work culture is so entrenched in accuracy, efficiency, elitism, and intolerance of the slightest errors that we tend to treat ourselves and each other critically, harshly and without grace. No wonder so many frontline healthcare workers—especially in high traffic, high-stress areas like ER, OR, or inner-city outpatient departments—have the reputation of being rude, impatient, or calloused!

These are only the external manifestations of incivility. Internally, that translates into absenteeism, mindlessness, despondency, proneness to misjudgment, burnout, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and/or even suicide.

The world out there’s been cruel enough, especially during the pandemic.

Healthcare should be a haven of rest, compassion, and hope—not just for patients, but for healthcare providers, too.

Leading in civility means that you as a leader take a bold step towards giving people some grace when they don’t quite perform up to par.

And the first and foremost recipient of that kind of grace!