Types of Workplace Incivility

Different people have different levels of tolerance for mistreatment and ill-behavior at the hands of their employers or supervisors. Depending on these levels, they may exhibit different types of uncivil behavior.

Experts have studied these various levels of incivility. Let’s discuss them −

Verbal-passive-indirectNo interest in clarifying any false
Verbal-passive-directSilent treatment of co-workers, not answering calls or replying to emails. Avoiding contact.
Verbal-active-indirectPropagating lies and rumors about co-workers and belittling others’ ideas and
Verbal-active-directInsulting people, giving condescending replies and yelling at co-workers.
Physical-passive-indirectInfluencing others to stop co-operating with specific people in the workplace.
Physical-passive-directTrying to be in groups with larger number of people, to camouflage underperformance.
Physical-active-indirectStealing office resources, destroying property, abusing equipment, funds misappropriation.
Physical-active-directPhysically attacking people, verbally assaulting, sending cold non-verbal messages.

It has also been observed that the ones who exhibit the level of uncivil behavior do not stay at that level, but plunge to the next low level of increased passivity at work. A “verbal-passive-indirect” will have the tendency to quickly move down to the “verbal-passive-direct” stage, if proper counselling and intervention is not done at the right time.

Efficient managers always keep a look out for employees who are exhibiting the first symptoms of dissociation from work and have a frank one-to-one discussion with them, so that the employee can once again connect to the workplace and align himself with the work-flow.

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