Most of us have known someone with cancer. Many of us have known someone who was diagnosed with cancer and in no time at all we were attending a memorial service. What people don’t always realize is that organizations can also get cancer.
The cancer I am talking about is incivility in the workplace.
Some studies have shown that two-thirds of those who resign from and leave their jobs do so because of some form of incivility in the workplace. Like many cancers, incivility may have a microscopic origin and can spread until it infects the entire workplace and the organizational culture itself. Organizational leadership may overlook that microscopic origin and may not even realize that there are specific symptoms of the beginnings of incivility. Leaders may even be “carriers” without knowing it.
Equally as dangerous to an organization as this incivilty cancer is, it is also terribly contagious. In some cases, it can metastasize into workplace bullying. In other cases, it can result in a hostile environment and even litigation. It’s hard to imagine that all of these potential problems may quickly grow from “accidental communication”.
Accidental communication is a label that we at Passion For Patients™ place on… a simple misunderstanding. It is quite common for misunderstandings of any size and at any level to be left unresolved. After all, many will go to great lengths to avoid confrontation with co-workers and especially with bosses. When this happens, it is not unusual for “accidental communication” to grow and grow until it negatively affects the entire workplace.
When workplace incivility infects a medical practice, patient care always suffers. Incivility in the workplace often results in mistakes being made in patient care. It has even resulted in the death of patients because of errors being made in diagnosis and treatment. This is why Passion For Patients™ is heavily involved in helping medical practices overcome incivility in the workplace.
Fortunately, training on identifying the symptoms and cures for incivility enables managers to facilitate early intervention for incivility. Passion for Patients™ Workshops also provide techniques on how to empower the workforce to remain free of the cancer of incivility.
That zero-tolerance approach to incivility is a necessary component of that early intervention. And constructive peer-pressure is the best way to ensure the effectiveness of that zero-tolerance policy.