How to React When Faced With Incivility | Boostalab

A colleague raises their tone, leaves the workspace dirty or criticizes you in front of a group? These are clearly uncivil, disruptive behaviours. Incivility can occur with or without malicious intent, but its impact on whoever’s subjected to it, as well as on the workplace, is still significant: stress, negative work environment, diminishing of engagement, effort and work quality, intentions to leave, etc.

These disruptive behaviours rarely cease on their own, but in the majority of cases people will alter their conduct when asked. Sometimes, they’re simply not aware that their behaviour disturbs others.

Respectful relationships between colleagues are the foundation of a positive work environment, and everyone one of us is responsible to act in a way that maintains it, whether we witness incivility or find ourselves at the receiving end. How can we react? This tool presents the key steps to help you establish your boundaries and to ask that this behaviour cease.

Be careful, as incivility can be contagious: uncivil behaviour begets more of the same. It’s been demonstrated that those who are subjected to incivility tend to respond in the same way. Another excellent reason to take swift action!


  • You witness a behaviour that you deem inappropriate.
  • You’re bothered by a colleague’s uncivil behaviour, and want it to stop.
  • You want to be clearer in asking someone to change their conduct, as subtle references have proved inefficient so far…


  • By asking the person to stop this behaviour, with a clear message and as soon as possible, to prevent the situation from rising to significant proportions (but not in the heat of the moment).
  • By breaking the silence in favour of a more positive work atmosphere.
  • By helping a person subjected to incivility to establish boundaries.


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Josiane Lavoie

Avec une maîtrise en psychologie et un MBA, Josiane traite avec le même doigté les aspects humains et structurels des organisations. Son expérience de près de 20 ans comme conseillère, gestionnaire, facilitatrice et coach lui permet de cerner rapidement les enjeux qui lui sont présentés.

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