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Managing incivility and disrespect

Fostering healthy work…

Research has shown that fostering a healthy workplace doesn’t happen on its own. It requires managers and good management skills. Civility and respect are everyone’s responsibility and you are a role model. Here we outline skills to help you manage incivility and disrespect and thus work towards a healthy and safe work environment.

Be available and build trust…

  • Have an open-door policy and let staff know they can raise any concerns at any time.
  • Never break confidences without permission.
  • Act with truth and honesty and don’t promise what you cannot deliver.

Be aware…

  • Get to know your team & know what works for them. Learn the signs when things aren’t as they should be.
  • Listen to team chatter and the signs of lower confidence or lower resilience. If you see changes, find out what is going on and try to help.

Be consistent…

  • Always treat staff with equity and fairness, regardless of who they are or how long they have worked with you.
  • Be consistent in the values you expect from all of your team.
  • Be aware of your own biases and avoid acting on them.

Take responsibility for bad behaviour. If you see or hear it, deal with it. But do it discreetly and not in front of others.

If concerns are raised with you, take them seriously. A joke to one person may be offensive to others.

Encourage your team to speak up to someone who may have upset them. This is the best way at preventing conflict developing. The longer something remains unresolved, the worse it will get.

Encourage your team to tell you if they feel you have overstepped a line. Reacting with kindness and openness to this will build trust and confidence within your team.

If conflict persists, there may be circumstances where you may need advice from HR or your Trade union. Make your staff aware of your local Freedom to Speak Up Guardians too.

Self-reflect after every shift. What worked well in your management practice and what could you have done differently?

Build a team culture that allows everyone, including you, to admit when they are wrong, apologise if necessary, and get it right next time. No one is perfect.

Be confident in tackling conflict. Conflict at work is normal and managing conflict is a skill. If you need help or guidance, ask HR or other managers to help you.

By encouraging staff to address incivility or disrespect directly, you are building a more resilient team. Resilience has never been more important than now.

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