Advance Performance | Why Being Nice To Your Coworkers Is Good For Business
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Why Being Nice To Your Coworkers Is Good For Business

Why Being Nice To Your Coworkers Is Good For Business

Christine Porath asks the viewers a vital question at the beginning of her Ted Talk on civility:

Who do you want to be?

Who do you want to be? It’s a simple question, and whether you know it or not, you’re answering it every day through your actions. This one question will define your professional success more than any other, because how you show up and treat people means everything.” – Christine Porath

Who you CHOOSE to be at work, at home, in your social life is defined by your thoughts and actions as we explore in all our Advance courses. Christine has dedicated her academic career to studying incivility in the workplace and how it affects the individual, the team, and the whole culture of a company.

Christine was inspired to study the effects of incivility when her father was hospitalised from long-term work-related stress just after she graduated. He had endured working for an uncivil boss for ten years. Christine could see the physical effects of what stress from rudeness, being demeaning and demoralising to an employee, and therefore, she decided to study the theory.

At grad school she met Christine Pearson who had the theory that small, uncivil actions can lead to much bigger problems like aggression and violence. The pair aimed to prove that civility vs incivility directly impacted performance. Their first study found:

Incivility made people less motivated: 66 percent cut back work efforts, 80 percent lost time worrying about what happened, and 12 percent left their job.

The main issue that appears to stimulate incivility within employees is stress. However, Porath has also discovered that the culture of competition, scepticism of being nice, and the traditional views of leadership have also contributed to the culture of incivility within different companies.

The difference on how civility vs incivility can affect a workforce is unsurprising if you have been following courses with Advance on focusing on our values, motivation, leadership skills, and empathy with our teams.

As Christine Porath says:

Why does civility pay? Because people see you as an important — and a powerful — unique combination of two key characteristics: warm and competent, friendly and smart. In other words, being civil isn’t just about motivating others. It’s about you. If you’re civil, you’re more likely to be seen as a leader. You’ll perform better, and you’re seen as warm and competent.”

If you have been taking courses with Advance Performance on leadership, you will be unsurprised by the main finding Porath discovered from 20,000 participants on what they wanted from their leaders.


Respect is fundamental to civility – starting from acknowledging a person, recognising and remembering details about individuals, listening, smiling, showing gratitude, accepting their ideas….
A culture of civility begins with respect.

Before Doug Conant took over as CEO of Campbell’s Soup in 2001, Gallup reported that Campbell’s Soup was the least engaged organisation they had ever surveyed. Yet within 9 years, Conant set all-time performance records, and gained many awards including best place to work. Conant led by example – as he said he had around 400 touch points each day to make an impact – to show respect, kindness, gratitude, positivity and appreciation.

By leading with respect and civility, Conant improved the performance of the whole company.
Civility is one of our core values that makes us human and defines our culture. Civility enables us as individuals to be the best we can be in each relationship, in our team, and our company. It lifts us and motivates us and our peers, improves our empathy and our self esteem. Civility makes each and all of us a better person, a better company, and a better society as a whole.

In every action now, ask yourself: how can I be more civil? How can I be the person I want to be today?