The Spice of Civility

  • Share This:

The Dunes of Disagreement

Times of political stress render civility as scarce as water on the desert planet Arrakis of DuneDelineated here by SHRM, workplace etiquette tends to plummet in the wake of charged political differences. Yet the importance of mutual respect and etiquette cannot be ignored, as they are as vital to team culture and harmony as spice melange is to the civilizations of Dune.

Civility sustains well-being in ourselves and our teams, as noted in this study for Frontiers in Psychology. Mutual exchange of respect with our teammates enhances feelings of job satisfaction and loyalty. As dramatically exemplified by the dynamics of the Atreides family and the nomadic Fremen, when we address others with respect—even when we don’t agree with or fully understand them—we plant the seeds for strong relationships and unity.

The opposite reality is vividly illustrated by House Harkonnen. Relentless pursuit of our interests, unheeding of our impact on the well-being of others, gives rise to conflict and retaliation in the vacuum of respect and decorum. The tension within such environments, like a giant Arrakis sandworm, can recklessly devour all trace of psychological safety.

In this podcast, Radical Candor’s Kim Scott and Just Work’s Wesley Faulkner discuss with MIT’s Denise Hamilton the palpable dichotomy between workplace civility and incivility. Instead of insisting on our own perspective and exacerbating aggravation, we ought to listen with genuine curiosity and empathy—with a willingness to offer a hand in agreement instead of digging our heels into conflict.

This rise of incivility, like an Arrakis storm, can result in devastating ramifications, as conveyed in this TED Talk by emergency medicine consultant Chris Turner. But unlike a storm, we can’t address incivility by avoiding it. Avoidance of conflict welcomes its continual prevalence, resulting in terrible acrimony and broken teams.

As tensions start to boil around us, we must each strive to maintain civility, for it is our spice—the lifeblood that sustains our interstellar endeavors. As we navigate the rolling dunes of interpersonal undulations, we can each aspire to civility over chaos.

Thus can we evade the all-devouring sandworm.

“Civility costs nothing and buys everything.”
– Mary Wortley Montagu

Do you have an idea you want to share with an empowered community of self-aware professionals? If you’d like to contribute an idea or article to ‘In The Flow of Work’ on the Evolve blog, just send us a message or submit a post to our Head of Content, Adam Schneider

Related Content

post thumbnail
In the Flow of Work
The (Painstaking) Pursuit of Happiness

A Concoction of Connections In recent years, we’ve seen and perhaps also experienced a disconcerting trend: the decline of happiness. Despite economic growth, technological advancements, and improved living standards, many are grappling with emotional...

post thumbnail
In the Flow of Work
Hiring: Opposites Attract, But Like-Minded Last

The Right Fit How we integrate and interact with the people around us might largely depend on personality, both theirs and ours. This is true in personal relationships as well as professional. Despite the...

post thumbnail
Company News
Odgers Berndtson US and SurePeople Join Forces to Revolutionize Executive Onboarding With Artificial Intelligence (AI), Prism Psychometrics, and World-Class Content by Harvard

NEW YORK, September 26, 2023 ( Odgers Berndtson US and SurePeople are reinventing Executive Onboarding with the launch of a groundbreaking new program leveraging SurePeople’s award-winning platform, powered by the Prism® psychometric algorithm and Harvard...

Man with beard resting head on hand, and a woman in the foreground, both looking up at a presentation.

Insights on People Analytics, Self-Mastery, High-Performance Teams and the Future of Work

Get insights delivered to your inbox.