This is part of the DR Book Collection.
When it comes to management research, Stanford’s Robert Sutton is someone I often look to. I follow his blog (which has unfortunately been dormant for some time) and take his book recommendations seriously. A year or so ago, I read his The No Asshole Rule. The main idea is that bullies and other toxic people–you know, assholes–negatively affects worker morale and productivity. I’ve written about his follow-up book Good Boss, Bad Boss here at Difficult Run. Needless to say, I like Sutton’s work. So when I read his Amazon review of Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace by Georgetown’s Christine Porath, I knew I had to check it out. Sutton writes,
In the name of full disclosure, I read an advance version of this book and wrote an endorsement. That said, because I wrote a related book on “”jerks” a decade ago, I’ve since read many books on workplace jerks and what to do about them, and related matters, over the years– and I’ve endorsed a lot of them too. Mastering Civility is the best of the bunch. It is the most useful, most evidence-based, and the writing is delightful– Porath’s voice is strong and engaging. The blend of stories and studies and advice you can use right away are pitch perfect. If you like books by Adam Grant or Robert Cialdini, you will like this as Porath is one of those rare top-notch researchers who is devoted to making people’s lives better, and making our organizations more effective too. She also presents one of the most compelling arguments against treating others in rude and disrespectful ways that I’ve ever read. It’s a gem.
Porath’s survey of the research finds that rudeness and incivility can decrease creativity, disrupt attention, and increase errors. However, leaders and co-workers that practice civility a viewed more favorably by others, have more engaged employees, boost creativity and performance, help create a reciprocal, civil organizational culture, and improve decision-making. All those who work–which is pretty much everyone–should take note.
You can see a lecture by Porath below.