I just finished the book: “Reaching Across The Aisle” by Congressman Dennis Ross. Reading this book reminded me of how we should maintain civility at work as the Congressman encourages returning to civility in politics.

In the fast-paced and dynamic environment of the modern workplace, maintaining civility is crucial for fostering a positive and effective culture. Civility at work goes beyond mere politeness; it involves respect, empathy, and effective communication. Maintaining civility will also bridge the gap between our multi-generational workforce.

In this article, we’ll explore four essential tips for cultivating and sustaining a civil workplace.

Practice Active Listening:

Effective communication is the cornerstone of a civil workplace. One key aspect of communication often overlooked is active listening. When colleagues feel heard and understood, it creates a foundation for mutual respect and cooperation. To practice active listening, focus on the speaker without interrupting, ask clarifying questions to ensure understanding, and provide feedback to show engagement.

Active listening not only improves communication but also helps in preventing misunderstandings and conflicts. By taking the time to listen actively, you demonstrate respect for your colleagues’ perspectives and contribute to a more inclusive and civil work environment.

Foster Inclusivity:

In a diverse workplace, embracing inclusivity is fundamental for maintaining civility. Valuing and celebrating differences, whether they be cultural, gender-related, or related to work styles, creates a sense of belonging for all employees. Ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute their ideas and perspectives.

Include everyone by organizing team-building activities that encourage collaboration and understanding. This can break down barriers and create a more cohesive and civil work environment. Additionally, be mindful of the language used in communication, avoiding discriminatory or exclusionary remarks. When everyone feels respected and included, it fosters a positive and harmonious workplace culture.

Constructive Feedback over Criticism:

Providing feedback is an inevitable part of professional life. However, the manner in which feedback is delivered can significantly impact the overall civility of the workplace. Rather than resorting to criticism, focus on offering constructive feedback that helps colleagues grow and improve.

Frame feedback in a positive and solution-oriented manner, emphasizing collaboration and growth. When individuals feel supported rather than attacked, they are more likely to respond positively and work towards improvement. Constructive feedback not only aids professional development but also contributes to a culture of respect and continuous improvement.

Manage Conflict Effectively:

Conflicts are inevitable in any workplace, but how they are handled can make a significant difference in maintaining civility. Instead of avoiding or escalating conflicts, address them promptly and constructively. Encourage open communication between parties involved, allowing them to express their concerns and perspectives.

Implement conflict resolution strategies, such as mediation or team-building sessions, to foster understanding and collaboration. Establish clear communication channels for reporting and resolving conflicts and ensure that all employees are aware of these resources. By addressing conflicts in a timely and respectful manner, you prevent lingering animosity and contribute to a workplace culture where differences are acknowledged and resolved amicably.


In conclusion, cultivating and maintaining civility at work is essential for a positive and productive workplace culture. By practicing active listening, fostering inclusivity, providing constructive feedback, and managing conflicts effectively, employees can contribute to a harmonious and respectful work environment. Remember, small actions and consistent efforts towards civility can lead to a more cohesive and thriving workplace where everyone feels valued and respected.

Want to bring civility to your team? Let Brian facilitate the Listen Up Workshop as a team building activity.