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spike bullet November 2002 - Civility at Work

20 Ways to Build a Kinder Workplace
Resources (links, books, articles, humor)

color bulletCivility at WorkPilgrims grateful for a holiday feast

As we head into the annual holiday season, our thoughts often turn to more personal and family oriented activities � a time of celebration and gratitude for whatever makes us happy.  

Given the state of current events with growing threats and taunts of war as well as national and international disagreements, we felt it appropriate to provide some reminders that we can all do a better job of getting along with each other.  

This is a good time to remember that whatever paid work we do is only a means to give us the resources to enjoy what is really important.  Our workplace should also provide us with many important friendships and meaningful experiences.Pilgrim and Indian enjoying the season

This month's guest author is Tom Terez, who promotes better work environments.

Civility At Work: 20 Ways to Build a Kinder Workplace

by Tom Terez

It's not always easy being nice.  There are deadlines to meet, conflicts to settle, resources to share, promotions to snag � all of which can pit people against each other.  What to do? 

Here are 20 practical ideas.  If you believe that workplaces work better when people get along, scan this list and start living it.

  1. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.  There's no substitute for authentic communication.
  2. Be less inclined to give advice and more inclined to seek it.
  3. Resist the urge to jump to conclusions about people and their motives.  Go to the source, get the facts and then decide.
  4. Identify the biggest redeeming quality of that person who's always driving you crazy.  Keep it in mind the next time the two of you interact.
  5. When greeting a colleague, skip the mindless how-ya-doin'.  Ask a question that shows genuine interest.
  6. Go out of your way to say thank you.  Sincere appreciation is powerful stuff it's feedback, recognition and respect all wrapped in one.
  7. If you're overdue in showing gratitude, make up for lost time.  Contact everyone who's owed thanks from you and let them know how much you appreciate their help.
  8. When credit and compliments come your way, spread them around to all who helped.  And if you think you're solely responsible for that honored achievement, think again.
  9. Promise only what you can deliver.  If what you deliver falls short, explain why.
  10. When things go wrong, resist the urge to assign blame.  It's the system that usually fails, so fix the system, not the people.
  11. Widen your social circle.  If you always go to lunch with the same group, invite someone new.
  12. Give a gift for no reason.  If you work with nature lovers, order some plants or flowers.  If the group has a chronic sweet tooth, get a few candy dishes and keep them full.
  13. When a rumor reaches your ear, let it go out the other.
  14. Step down from the treadmill of daily tasks and have an inefficient chat with a colleague.  If it's someone you rarely engage in conversation, all the better.
  15. Show interest in someone else's interests.  Okay, maybe you're not dying to hear about Pat's passion for stamp collecting, but Pat will be thrilled you asked.
  16. When you take a stand and later realize it's the wrong stand, be honest enough to say so.
  17. Involve more people in weighing options and making decisions.  There's incredible brainpower all around you, so why not put it to work?
  18. If you tend to send e-mails to colleagues who are an easy walk away, give the computer a rest.  Get up, walk over and have a no-tech conversation.
  19. Try going a whole day without making judgments about people.  Good luck it's tough!
  20. Don't wait for kindness to come your way.  Gandhi had it right: We must be the change we wish to see in the world.

About the Author

Tom Terez is a speaker, consultant, and author of 22 Keys to Creating a Meaningful Workplace.

His Web site,, is filled with tools for building a great work environment.  Write to Tom [at] or call 614-571-9529. 

Copyright � 2002 by Tom Terez, Workplace Solutions Inc.  [Used with permission of the author.]

Autumn leaves divider

About our resource links:  We do not endorse or agree with all the beliefs shared in these articles.  We do keep an open mind about different viewpoints and respect the ability of our readers to decide for themselves what is useful.

World Wide Web graphic  Internet Resources Pilgrims with autumn leaves

book graphic  Books   -  Disclosure: We get a small commission for purchases made via links to Amazon.

  • 22 Keys to Creating a Meaningful Workplace, Tom Terez. Adams Media Corporation; ISBN: 1580626831; May 2002
  • Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct, P.M. Forni, 
    New York, St. Martin's Press, February 2002 ISBN 0312281188
  • Rude Awakenings : Overcoming the Civility Crisis in the Workplace, Giovinella Gonthier, Dearborn Trade Publishing ISBN: 079315197X May 2002 

world wide web - articles  Articles

smiley graphic  The Lighter Side  

One of the most important things in communication is to hear what is not being said.
- Peter Drucker

Everything I need to know about life, I learned from Noah's Ark 

  1. Don't miss the boat.
  2. Remember that we are all in the same boat.
  3. Listen to your inner calls, no matter how strange.  It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.
  4. Stay fit.  Someone may ask you to do something really big.
  5. Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
  6. Build your future on high ground.
  7. For safety's sake, travel in pairs.
  8. Speed isn't always an advantage.  The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
  9. When you're stressed, float a while.
  10. Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
  11. No matter the storm, there's always a rainbow waiting.

Noah's Ark cartoon graphic

Source: sent to us in e-mail.  If you know the author, please let us know so we can give proper credit.

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Page updated: October 16, 2023   
Institute for Management Excellence, Copyright � 2002 All rights reserved

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