Embracing Civility

The REAL Healthcare Reform!

Tag: workplace bullying

Hating Your Job? Are You the Workplace Grouch?

“So, how was your day?” is a question you may be asked, well, every day. Do you answer honestly? Do you gloss over the stressful moments and face-palms? Or do you answer by focusing almost entirely on them? Maybe you just respond with something like “It’s good, now that it’s over.”

The vast majority of workers are not satisfied with their jobs. This is not necessarily a matter of the grass being greener somewhere -anywhere- else. The overwhelming issue contributing to dissatisfaction is not usually compensation, job duties, career opportunities, or even hours worked.

Taken alone, devoid of all the aggravating accoutrements, you might actually enjoy the job you hold. After all, didn’t you seek out and actively pursue this position? Remember how great the first few days on the job felt? You probably felt proud of yourself for landing that first interview, then beating out the competition and telling all your family and friends about how the hiring manager loved your resume/work ethic/test score/shoes.

Well, what happened? Fast forward five years: you’ve been slogging it out for what seems like a lifetime and dread walking in the door every morning. You snatch glimpses of the clock at work and sigh when only a few minutes pass between glances. No amount of will or wishing makes it tick any faster.

In many cases you can blame it on the workload, low pay, lack of promotion potential, and weak coffee in the break-room. But do those things really make you loathe your job? Lots of people love their low paying jobs. Lots of people work hard in dead end jobs. Lots of people suffer weak coffee. I’m not sure that’s why the workforce is not satisfied.

But there’s another big one: what about your workplace environment? Your coworkers, your customers, your bosses. How do they make you feel? Do you look forward to seeing them every day? If you’re like most, you have a work friend or two, and most everyone else you can stand, at least for a while. But there’s always one or two unkind folks that just drag the whole place down. Or what about that spiteful customer that just loves to watch you squirm? Doesn’t that make you just want to throw whatever’s in your arms straight to the ground and stomp out for good?

I submit thus the reason why you hate your job. Negativity has struck, at least in your own head, but maybe even the entire workplace is infected with it (kind of like the stomach bug passed around at the last Christmas party).  Maybe (probably), you and everyone around you already know this. So, what’s the big deal? Isn’t everyone negative at work? That may seem to be a legitimate excuse. Everyone hates their job, so why shouldn’t I? Guess what? You are part of the problem!


Well, here’s your dose of antidote to the poison that ails you. Civility. Yes, civility. What is it? And should it matter in the slightest? Most people equate it to being polite and meek. Something expected of you as a child. But that is not really accurate- it is a mature and self-respecting state of being. Here are a few other things it isn’t: a desire to create a faux pleasant atmosphere at your own expense. Civility is not about letting aggressive people stand on your exposed soft parts.

A couple more things that it is: self-control, self-reflection, maturity, taking responsibility for yourself, managing your export. Export in this sense means the manner in which you present yourself, speak to others and non-verbally communicate. Imagine how much better you would feel if you controlled the environment around you, especially pertaining to those negative people that bring you down. They’ve turned you to the dark side! Get back on track by retaking the initiative and choosing your own path.

I don’t have a personally relatable anecdote for each and every person out there who needs to learn or become reacquainted with civility. But I have a guide for you, and a good one at that. It’s called Get the Grouch Out! How Embracing Civility Can Banish Bad Behaviors and Create a More Respectful and Productive Workplace.


Here are some of the things you should be able to internalize and practice by reading this guidebook:

  • Learn to self-reflect and self-manage.
  • Focus on your integrity.
  • Recognize how you present yourself to others.
  • Control your negative moods.
  • Deal with difficult people.
  • Maintain professional relationships.
  • Communicate properly with a team.
  • Fix structural workplace problems from within.

As a whole, the guide will show you that to empower yourself with personal control is to be in a civil state of being. It shows that adhering to a method of personal control and owning your own path to happiness and success is a gift everyone can and should give to themselves right now. Go get it for yourself now on Kindle, and take your workplace back!

Today ONLY!


ITK is at it again! Check out their Deal of the Day!

Today only, get a Complete Civility Training Program for up to 24 learners
for under $10 per person

This package was custom designed for organizations with 24 or fewer employees.  You’ll get 24 copies of the book, “The REAL Healthcare Reform” (read sample pages), and 1 copy of the Companion Instructor’s Manual (read sample pages).

Get more details and order HERE today!

Don’t delay! This deal expires at midnight tonight!


Is it Possible to Be Pro-Bullying?

October is National Anti-Bullying Month, but anti-bullying campaigns are not limited to just this month.  It’s respectable and noble to be “anti-bullying” these days.  I dare say it’s even trendy. The opposite, pro-bullying, just doesn’t exist. At least no one will admit it.

So why are there still bullies? If we are all so emphatically against it . . . and no one is for it, how can it persist, especially in healthcare?

The fact is that the pro-bullies are the bullies themselves. Bullies desperately try to hold on to their bullying ways because without bullying, they have no power. Or so they think. You see, a bully usually acts out as a means to gain or retain power. Bullying usually comes from a person in a position of power (real or imagined) and involves an abuse or misuse of this power.

Do you work with a “pro-bullying” person? Is there a possibility that you are “pro-bullying” without even knowing it? Take this quick “self-awareness” quiz. Self-awareness is when you realize that, although you are not the center of the universe, everything you say and do can have an impact on others. Bullies tend to act out in a way that demonstrates a lack of self-awareness.

Imagine this conversation between a workplace bully and her target.

Target: It seems like you are just waiting for me to do something wrong so that you can criticize me.

Bully: That’s not true. I’m just trying to make sure you are doing things safely. And it’s not criticism. I’m trying to show you how to do things the right way.

Target: But, I’m doing things the way I was taught and I AM safe.

Bully: Well, maybe you were taught wrong.

Target: Fine, if you are trying to teach me, then can you please do it in private? I don’t think it’s good for the company’s reputation when you yell at me in front of patients and our co-workers.

Bully: I wish I had time to take a break and explain your mistakes to you every time you make one. But, I am busy actually working.

Target: I heard you tell our Supervisor that I was responsible for the spill that caused Mrs. G to fall the other day. You know that’s not true. Are you trying to get me fired?

Bully: All I know is I didn’t do it and you were the only other person in that area that day. It must have been you. I’m just doing my best to keep the patients safe.

This “bully” does not see herself as a bully. She has no self-awareness of the impact of her words and actions on herself, her workplace and her co-workers. She sees herself as smarter, better and faster than everyone else. She has an inflated sense of her own worth and importance in the workplace. She thinks her “way” of doing things is the best or only way. She believes that causing a co-worker to look bad makes herself look good. Unfortunately, this is the case with most bullies.

Bullies have their own unspoken pro-bullying campaign going on. Can Pro-Bullies be turned around? You bet! Bullying is a habit . . . and habits can change. It starts with self-awareness.

If you have one or more “Pro-Bullies” in your workplace, download this printable version of the Self-Awareness quiz and give it to your supervisor for distribution. If you are the supervisor, consider putting copies of the quiz in with paychecks or other announcements. Leave a pile in the break room. Pin it up in the locker room.

If you want to take it a step further, consider implementing a full scale civility training program like the one that goes along with the book, “The REAL Healthcare Reform.”

Tell us what you did or are doing to transform the pro-bullies in your workplace!

What’s Your Fire Ant Personality?

I was ambushed by an angry mob of ferocious fire ants over the weekend. And, by “ambushed” I mean I suffered three tiny, but excruciating bites. And by “angry mob” I mean I stepped into their home and they failed to welcome me with tea and cookies!

As I scratched, iced and cortisone’d my assaulted ankles I decided I should probably do a Google search to see if I needed to worry about any other symptoms or complications. Turns out—no! I didn’t seem to be allergic and I didn’t suffer enough bites to warrant a trip to the ER! Phew!

Then I stumbled on a study published a few years ago that made me think a little differently about the angry beasts. It seems they have some pretty interesting and distinct personalities!

  • About one third of the colony will play dead during an attack (from a human foot or another colony of fire ants).
  • Another third will run away.
  • The final group will stay and fight to the death. (These are the chumps that got me!)

The first group is made up of the youngest ants. After an attack they can be found curled up just like a dead ant. Then moments later they uncurl and walk away.

Middle aged ants tend to flee, which scientist think may be a tactic to protect the queen.

The eldest ants are aggressive and attack furiously. One researcher points out, “All worker ants are females, and so it’s the cranky old ladies who are the ones fighting to the death.”

Looking at the structure of the fire ant colony reminded me a little bit of the social structures found in most healthcare workplaces. It resembles how different groups deal with the pervasive culture of incivility.

New graduates curl up and play dead when attacked. They may be unsure of how to respond or may fear the consequences that may come from defending themselves.

The more experienced workers tend to cope by ignoring the problem or retreating.

You can draw your own conclusions about the third group!

The interesting thing about the comparison though is that the fire ants act this way out of a primal instinct to protect their home and their family (aka colony) from danger. That makes sense. They are tiny little creatures trying to survive in a giant’s land. But, why do we do it?

Think about the fire ants the next time you are at work. Do you play dead, retreat or fight to the death? And, why? If you play dead, you’re giving the aggressor the confirmation he or she needs to feel powerful. If you ignore the problem or retreat, you may inadvertently perpetuate the problem by “protecting the queen.”

If you’re the one on the attack, think about what you are working so hard to defend. I can assure you, it’s not as important as your home or your entire family (like it is for the fire ants).


It’s Here! Civility Training for Your Organization!

It’s time to order your organization’s new Civility Training Program!  We are proud to offer the only healthcare-specific civility training program designed to meet the unique needs of the healthcare environment.

Based on our popular book, “The REAL Healthcare Reform,” this program is a complete turnkey solution that contains everything you need to get a civility training program up and running with minimal effort.

Training packages are available for as few as 12 learners and come complete with a copy of The REAL Healthcare Reform for each learner and an Instructor’s Manual for the educator.

The Instructor’s Manual is full of engaging classroom activities, thought-provoking discussion questions, convenient PowerPoint presentations, tips for improving participation and a CD with master copies of all the handouts and presentations. (Read a sample chapter!)

The best part is that the program materials are appropriate for every individual in your healthcare organization, clinical and non-clinical alike. Administrators, managers, nurses, aides, secretaries, and everyone in between, will find the program easy to use and understand. In addition, the program provides six hours of inservice credit for all Certified Nursing Assistants.

Healthcare organizations who provide civility training will find that it:

1. Meets Joint Commission’s recommendations.  This program meets the Joint Commission’s recommendation to provide training that reduces “behaviors that undermine a culture of safety,” particularly intimidating and disruptive behaviors among staff members.

2. Reduces costly medical errors. Incivility ruins communication among the healthcare team and poor communication is a direct threat to patient safety. Civility training decreases dangerous and potentially deadly medical errors by improving teamwork and communication.

3. Increases employee retention. A staggering number of healthcare employees report having quit a job because of incivility. Civility Training improves employee retention at every level, saving organizations the precious time and money involved in hiring and training new employees.

4. Cuts down on “call-outs” and absenteeism. Working in a culture of incivility leads to more absenteeism.  As many as 47% of healthcare employees report spending less time at work because of incivility. Civility training creates an atmosphere that energizes and inspires those who are in it. Employees who are energized and inspired will look forward to coming to work, thus reducing the rate of absenteeism.

5. Eliminates conflict and drama. Incivility leads to conflict and conflict = DRAMA! Healthcare professionals who embrace civility are less likely to burn out, bully or “eat their young!” This means less conflict and drama in the workplace!

6. Improves patient satisfaction and enhances the organizations reputation. Disgruntled, dissatisfied and disengaged employees don’t provide quality care to the patients they serve.  This leads to a decrease in patient satisfaction. Patients who are dissatisfied with the care they receive share their negative experience with others in the community.  Healthcare organizations that embrace civility enjoy improved patient satisfaction . . . and satisfied patients who speak well of the organization in the community enhance that organization’s reputation.

The benefits of using THIS Civility Training Program include:

1. The hard part is DONE!  Our Civility Training Program will save you time, effort and money.  You don’t have to create the program yourself.  We did that for you.  And you won’t have to hire an expensive “expert” trainer to come into your facility to deliver the training. The Instructor’s Guide will show you how to seamlessly deliver the content to healthcare professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds and settings with a wide range of learning styles.

2. Two simple products give you everything you need!  Our program consists of a workbook style booklet that goes hand-in-hand with the companion Instructor’s Manual. The Instructor’s Manual comes with a CD loaded with additional worksheets, quizzes and PowerPoint presentations. These two products contain everything you need to conduct your civility training.

3. It’s easy to customize the program to meet your specific needs! You can choose to arrange a full day “seminar” to cover all of the material in one day.  Or, you might like to break the content into chunks and deliver it over several shorter sessions.  This option is great for shift workers.  You can hold a morning session for one shift and an afternoon or evening session for other shifts.

4 There is a pricing option for every budget. When you are ready to order, call In the Know at (877) 809-5515 to choose the package that’s right for you. (See bulk discount pricing below.)

5. The program pays for itself. Incivility steals from your entire organization. Organizations like yours can end up paying dearly for incivility with their profit margins. In the Know’s Civility Training program will improve patient care, decrease costly medical errors and will inspire and energize your team. Best of all, it will decrease employee turnover at every level, saving you the time and money involved in hiring and training new employees.

To learn more about this new Civility Training Program, please call 877-809-5515. We are here to answer all of your questions!

Civility Training Program Package Options

Online ordering is currently not available for these packages,
so please call 877-809-5515 to place your order.

Number of Learners

Qty Discount Price Each Instructor’s Manual Your Cost
12 50% 9.97 69.99  $189.59
24 55% 8.97 69.95  $285.23
50 60% 7.98 34.98  $433.98
100 65% 6.98 34.98 $732.98
150 70% 5.98 Free $897.00
300 75% 4.98 Free $1,494.00


The Sinister Side of Incivility

We talk a lot about incivility in the healthcare workplace. It’s that insidious, irritating and distracting eye rolling, sarcasm, gossip and belittling we all have either witnessed or experienced. But there is a more serious side of incivility that goes beyond these minor annoyances. And that’s BULLYING.

Bullying is a much more sinister form of incivility that can have devastating emotional effects on workers, costly financial consequences for employers and dangerous or even deadly outcomes for patients.

Are you being bullied at work? If so, get help now!

Here is a helpful graphic that is full of terrific advice
from the folks at Career Journey in the UK.

Source: Career Journey

If there was a penalty for being rude . . .

incivility, civility, bullying, workplace bullying, change.orgHow would you feel if the government decided to regulate your attitude? If there was a penalty for being rude, unkind, short-tempered or mean, would you be guilty?

What if there was a monetary fine or even jail time for bullying? Would you quickly find yourself broke and/or behind bars?

– In Australia, one Union is pushing for mandatory jail time for workplace bullies.

– A bill in the Philippines, known as the “Anti Cyber Bullying Act of 2012″ seeks to penalize violators with a fine of 50,000 to 100,000 Philippine Pesos (that’s $1,100 to $2,300 USD) and imprisonment for six months to six years.

– Forty nine states in the US now have laws against bullying that allow victims to sue their employer for failing to prevent or punish workplace abusers.

– The Joint Commission has determined that “behaviors that undermine a culture of safety” are now considered a Sentinel Event and requires several new Leadership Standards, including requirements to provide education that focuses on civility and professionalism for all persons.

Look, no one likes to be TOLD what to do. And certainly, we don’t need to be nagged, reprimanded or reminded to “be nice.” And, while it may be difficult to admit that you have behaved in an uncivil way, most of us have been judgmental, jealous, rude or even short-tempered at one time or another.

Unfortunately, these behaviors are extremely contagious, and over time can infect an individual, a team, and an entire organization.

Today we face a worldwide, growing epidemic of incivility and SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE!

Let’s not wait for our employers and our government to tell us how to behave. We can do this on our own. Each of us has the power to turn this problem around . . . and we can do it one person at a time. Let’s start a grassroots movement to restore civility to our workplaces, schools and public discourse, TODAY!

All you have to do is make a few basic changes in the way you interact with others. When you do this, your positive behaviors will go “viral!”

It works because just as rude and uncivil behaviors beget more rudeness and incivility, your kind, considerate and civil behaviors will bring about more kindness and civility!

Try it . . . you’ll see! Be sure to check back and let us know how it’s working for you!


The REAL Healthcare Reform is now available for Your Kindle

The REAL Healthcare Reform for Kindle

Alright, Kindle lovers—you asked for it, and we heard you! Now you can get “The REAL Healthcare Reform: How Embracing Civility Can Beat Back Burnout and Revive Your Healthcare Career” on your Kindle e-book reader and any of the free Kindle apps for other devices.

We’re so excited that healthcare professionals worldwide are now able to read the book on their Kindles and free Kindle reading apps. This is particularly good news for our friends in Australia, UK, New Zealand, India and Canada who have been hindered by high shipping costs.

Go to Amazon.com today to get your copy wireless delivered to your device!

Civility STAT! A New Advice Column from Embracing Civility

  Answers to your personal questions about
combating workplace incivility right NOW!

We get lots of questions about workplace incivility, and we’d like to share them with you! While each problem is specific to the individual who sends it, most people will be able to relate and make use of the information.

If you have something you’d like to ask our workplace incivility experts, click here and send us your anonymous question.  We will never publish real names or workplaces in this column.



I work for small healthcare provider in a tiny suburb. Needless to say, everybody knows everybody! Shortly after taking the job, I became pretty close friends with one of my workmates. We would have lunch together, go out for drinks after work and even get our families together to barbecue on the weekends.
One day, this friend learned that her husband had been cheating on her. She came to me to cry, complain, drink wine and get advice. I let her cry, listened to her complain, served her wine and tried to give her advice. 
By the time Monday rolled around, news had gotten out that this husband was messing around with A LOT of other women. When my friend arrived at work on Monday, people began to ask her questions . . . questions that they already knew the answers to. When she realized that everyone knew her business, she blamed me for telling!
I swear, I never told a soul! Now, she won’t even talk to me anymore. She gives me dirty looks, she purposely creates situations to make me look bad. She rolls her eyes when I walk by and she excludes me from invitations to lunch or drinks after work. And even though I can’t prove it, I think she and another co-worker are responsible for the three flat tires I had on my car when I left work last night.
I’m at my wits end and don’t know what to do. Please help!
Sunk in the Suburbs

Dear Sunk, This is a tough situation. Becoming close friends with people you work with can be a real slippery slope. That’s why we say in “The REAL Healthcare Reform” that:

“It’s okay to be friendly—and you should be friendly—but you don’t have to be ‘best friends’ with your co-workers. Get your needs for friendship met outside of work.

The hard truth is that turning professional relationships into personal relationships can breed a familiarity that invites disrespect and incivility. That’s what you are experiencing right now. Your friend has been hurt and betrayed by her husband. And, now she feels hurt and betrayed by you (even if that feeling is misguided). In an attempt to protect herself from feeling the pain, she is lashing out with anger, incivility and bullying behaviors toward you. (Who knows what she is doing to her husband?)

Dealing with the dirty looks, the eye rolling and the exclusion is going to be the easy part. Simply do not allow yourself to fall into the trap of reacting. Your ex-friend would love to get you to engage in a conflict with her. Even though you are the victim here, she will be able manipulate the situation to make it look like she lost her husband and her best friend, all in one weekend. Everyone will rally around her!

Just do your best every day to show everyone how much you love your job and that you want to be a team player.

The other behaviors, such as trying to make you look bad and possibly flattening your tires are much more sinister problems that need to be dealt with by your supervisor or HR department.

Start by writing down everything that has happened so far. Be sure to include names and dates, if possible. Stick to the facts, not what you think, guess or assume. Take this information to your supervisor or HR department and ask for the policy on reporting bullying and disruptive behaviors. If no policy exists, you may want to mention that bullying and disruptive behaviors, particularly in a healthcare setting undermines the culture of safety and contributes to poor patient outcomes, more medical errors and costly employee turnover.

Find out if you have surveillance cameras in the parking lot where your car was parked when the tires were flattened. If so, you can find out exactly who did the damage. But, whether you know who did it or not, you need to file a police report. The police will ask you if you know of anyone who may want to hurt you, and they will ask those people the hard questions.

You may think that an advice column like this would encourage you to try to “talk it out” and “repair the friendship,” but, that’s not what you will get here. While it’s important to diffuse the situation and get the disruptive behaviors to stop, it’s equally important to RE-DEFINE your relationship with your co-worker as a professional relationship—not a personal one. In “The REAL Healthcare Reform” you’ll learn:

The purpose of a professional relationship is to work together toward the common goals of the workplace by servicing the customers, maximizing profit or productivity and maintaining or enhancing the reputation and success of the company.

This is different from personal relationships where the goal is to provide companionship, friendship or even intimacy to meet each person’s need for socialization and emotional connection.

The key to building and maintaining civil relationships with your co-workers is understanding that work relationships are professional…not personal!

Hope this helps. Please keep us updated, Sunk! If anyone else has advice for Sunk, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments!


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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