Embracing Civility

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Category: Civility Research

Free For Nurses’ Week . . . [last day to enter]

newcover.inddHey Nurses!  It’s National Nurses’ Week and we’d like to say “THANK YOU!”  From now until Monday, May 12th, we’re giving away free, signed copies of our book!

It’s pretty easy.  Just follow these three quick steps:

1.  Leave a comment below, (where it says “Join the Conversation”) telling us why you love being a nurse.

2.  Fill out this form so we know where to send your book.


3.  Pay it Forward. When you are done reading the book, pass it on to another nurse who you think may benefit from reading it.

Please Note: You must leave a comment below and send us your address in form above in order to receive your free book.

Scrubs Magazine Explores Toxic Nursing Relationships

The Fall 2013 issue of Scrubs Magazine began investigating the growing problem of incivility in the healthcare workplace.  We were interviewed and our Self Awareness Quiz was included in an article called “Build Emotional Resistance.”

We’re happy to see Scrubs Magazine is taking it even further!  The Spring 2014 issue covered examples of toxic relationships. And now, their website has even more for you to chew on!

5 articles you can’t miss on toxic nursing (via http://scrubsmag.com/)

Feeling like someone at work is out to get you? Dealing more with politics than your patients? Are you a new nurse who can’t get anything right…at least, if your coworkers are to be believed? You might be in a toxic work environment. In the Spring…

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The Word ‘Bully’ Causes a Collective Clam-up

workplace bullying, incivility, workplace incivility, civility training, adult bully, bullyingWhat’s the best way to get people to STOP discussing the problem of workplace bullying? Just use the word ‘bully.’

This year’s 8th International Conference on Workplace Bullying and Harassment presented many new studies on the definition, the extensiveness and the consequences of bullying in the workplace. However, an unintended discovery emerged amongst the research.

As it turns out, many of the scholars who study workplace bullying found that they routinely came up empty handed when they tried to interview employees about this taboo topic. It seems that the word ‘bully’ causes people to clam-up.

It’s not clear why people are reluctant to discuss ‘bullying.’  Perhaps it causes fear in those who have experienced or witnessed bullying. Maybe it just makes people uncomfortable. Maybe it leads the bullies to become resentful, defensive or paranoid.  Whatever the reason, it does no good to close the door on the conversation.

This realization led researchers down a completely novel path.  Instead of asking workers about ‘bullying,’ they asked their subjects to describe ‘incivility’—and it worked! Researchers that used the word ‘bully’ found employees that were reluctant to discuss or even acknowledge the problem, while those that used the term ‘incivility’ got employees to open up.

What does this mean for organizations that battle the problem of workplace bullying?

We already know you can’t change problem behaviors or reverse a toxic culture unless you get it out in the open and talk about it. And, now we know that the best way to get people to talk about it is to substitute the word ‘bully’ with the term ‘incivility.’ Sounds simple enough, right?

With that in mind, it’s important to remember that bullying is still a major issue in the workplace that can have devastating emotional effects on workers and costly financial consequences for employers. However, to reframe it (and keep the conversation open) ‘bullying’ can be categorized under the larger umbrella of issues related to incivility. Incivility includes:

– Using demeaning or disparaging language, gestures or behaviors, such as eye rolling and sarcasm.

– Participating in gossip or slander.

– Using fear or power to intimidate others.

– Intentionally sabotaging others.

– Bullying or using misguided power to control others.

– Putting offensive language in writing, such as in email or Facebook posts.

– Participating in “hate-ism” or targeting people based on rank, age, gender, race or sexual orientation.

What do you think? Can changing one word help change the culture in your workplace? Let us know your thoughts.  We love hearing from you.


New Method Gets Staff to Discuss Workplace Bullying, by Sybille Hildebrandt
The 8th International Conference on Workplace Bullying and Harassment -Future Challenges, Book of Proceedings

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