Recognition: An Antidote to Incivility and Bullying

image of 2 women laughing behind the back of another woman who looks unhappy as they are showing incivility toward her Think about the first time you were bullied at work.
Now think about the next time.

Now think about the first time you were treated with incivility.
Now think about the next time.

We all have this in our past. You may have this in your present. Do you want to make it less likely than your future?

Create a culture that is so full of recognition and appreciation that incivility can’t survive.

We sometimes make the mistake of thinking about toxic cultures like they are a virus. Wrong metaphor. Viruses need time to go away. They make you feel rotten for a while, and then antibodies kick in, and you slowly start to feel more yourself.

Have you ever described the resolution of bullying in this way?image of a toxic warning sign to show incivility in the workplace

Toxic workplaces are actually like a bacterial infection. We can study it. We can isolate it. We can treat it. It’s best to blast it early. It’s best not to let it keep coming back, or else the effectiveness of the treatment will wear off. Treat it early and treat it seriously. So what’s the antibiotic for the early signs of an incivility infection?

Recognition, not incivility.

image of office workers clapping in appreciation and oppressing incivilityMake your workplace culture a hostile host to bullying behaviours. Bullying cannot survive, grow and creep into other parts of our work if we dose it with support, if we stifle it with hope, if we nurture it with positivity, if we stifle it with recognition.

Recognition is a powerful antidote, yet, just like your generic antibiotic, it’s so commonplace it doesn’t really seem that sexy, that effective, that revolutionary. However, as easy as it is to prescribe recognition, do we up the dose and fast at the easiest sign of a strain and struggle? Some of you do recognize rockstar staff, leaders, teams and organizations.

Don’t underestimate how quickly you and others can feel better with a healthy dose of appreciation.

Look here for more scrumptious ideas on creating recognition for your team:

P.S. My good friend Renee Thompson has a course that could be helpful if bullying is out of control where you work. Check it out here.

image of webpage for Eradicating Bullying & Incivility In Healthcare course



“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

Deb Rakonjac

Organizational Development, Purolator Inc.

"Sarah nailed it!  She worked with the planning group to learn about the organization, the audience, the desired key messages and integrated it seamlessly into her keynote. Her energy was contagious! We received rave reviews of this portion of our event and Sarah was able to speak to all members of our organization in a way that motivated them to recognize others everyday. Our executives were extraordinarily pleased and integrated FROGging into their recent board meeting. Purolator is grateful to Sarah for dropping the pebble and we continue to see the ripples from this session across the organization. Working with Tami was phenomenal and the supports were easy to integrate to ensure the session went well. Thanks to you both!!"
Douglas D Swift

President & CEO, Swiftco Inc.

"I have had the Sarah experience in numerous settings: As a keynote, around a table with several other business owners, one on one over coffee, chatting with others at a conference reception, dining with a small group of colleagues. No matter the setting you always get the same Sarah: engaging, attentive, interested, inspiring, motivational, genuine. And always with an infectious smile. Do yourself, your company, your association a favour. Get the Greatness Magnified (Sarah) experience. The payback is priceless."
Judy Kucharuk

Director, Marketing and Special Events, Encana Events Centre

"Funny, full of energy and incredibly motivating – all words to use when describing Sarah and her passionate stage presence. We were fortunate to have Sarah join us as a speaker for Spark Women’s Leadership Conferences and her presentations about leveraging greatness hit the core of our objective at SPARK: “A rising tide lifts all boats”. I would not hesitate to recommend Sarah to other organizations that are searching for a well-prepared, well-organized, thoughtful and passionate storyteller."
Shelley VanVeen

Learning & Development Manager, Libro Credit Union

"Sarah brought so much energy and enthusiasm to our International Women’s Day event at Libro! Her message was uplifting, thought-provoking and truly appreciated by our team. Dealing with Sarah was wonderful – she was open, professional and willing to work with us to customize her message to incorporate our culture and connect to our topic and participants. During the session, she was a pro with a powerful message and a fantastic delivery. We had wonderful feedback from all that attended and can’t wait to have Sarah back for another session in the future!"
Sylvia D’Intino

Executive Director, Community Living Hamilton

"THANK YOU so very much for leading the engagement activities today! You’re a constant professional, with an amazing attitude and always seeing the great in everyone. I am grateful for how you have helped us this year to transform our in-person staff recognition events into virtual and on-location events. Our staff feel more inspired, appreciated and motivated after they hear you speak, and I know our amazing in-house team here looks forward to designing engaging appreciation events with your support."
Melissa Chaulk

Manager of Professional Development

Canadian Dental Hygienists Association

"We work hard at CDHA to give our members a wonderful conference experience, so we were thrilled to have received resoundingly positive feedback on Sarah's opening plenary keynote. It was the highest attended of the entire conference for both dates!"
Jamie Campbell

Director, The Center for People in Organizational Development, Sheridan College

"Smart, challenging, innovative, committed, dependable, and reliable, I highly recommend her for all your recognition needs. I have brought Sarah into my last two organizations to help build a culture of recognition and celebration. The focus on appreciation is more important now than ever."

Some of the Great Organizations We Serve