Bosses are leaders. They set the tone in a workplace. As the boss (CEO), you get a chance to set a tone for a culture that fosters being nice to each other or being incivil "to get things done."
I've long held the belief that it is incredibly important to be nice to your fellow colleagues, and even more important to be nice to your reports.
Today's NYTimes article further lends credence to this belief.
In fact, it talks with some clear numbers that a workplace where you don't treat each other nicely is downright unproductive.
One you build a culture where people genuinely trust each other to do the right thing could lead to building further camaraderie where chiding can be considered as the height of trust.
However, until then, belittling actually makes people unproductive. And being hostile - shouting, picking people's mistakes while not providing encouragement only leads to exemplify and imbibe a culture that the company shuns mistakes.
We all know from having worked in places where that happens it is the fastest way for people to "do their job" and nothing else. People stop taking risks in that environment and that is the biggest loss of productivity and future growth for the company.
If you're a service company, where you have any dealings with customers at all, showing them even a sense of the incivility within the workplace is a sure shot way to lose customers.
As a boss, it is also incredibly important that you should be open to feedback from your employees. Here's a quote that highlights the problem for me.
It is incredibly easy to get into a the vicious cycle of ignorance and incivility here.
Consider ths -- the first time you get feedback that you're shouting or hurting others with your ability to pick out mistakes and hanging people out to dry -- if your reaction was to say sorry vs. vigorously defend yourself.
This brings less feedback and makes your company culture weary of ever getting honest feedback to improve. It shall be a culture of fear to go against the boss, leading to further ignorance and incivility.
Finally, it is not too late. Culture takes time to change, but you should start working on it now. The article points out some simple and effective tips too --
As a boss, at the end of the day, you're responsible for the culture of the company. Leading through fear and flexing your muscle is ephemeral. Nobody wanted to be a cold, ruthless leader. They often lack feedback.
As employees to such bosses, if you do care about the culture of your company (and you should), try different ways of sharing the feedback to your boss. It is your chance to show your leadership too.
Good luck and let's create great, civil, happy workplaces. :)