Is this what you think your staff looks, managers? Thinking, maybe. Happy and compatible, unfortunately not likely.

Bad behavioral choices in employees can be costly in morale and retention. So if you have a toxic workplace, everyone’s success suffers.

In my humble opinion, all of these things: leadership, trust, economics, and stress, in endless combinations, are causal factors that impact civility in the workplace. But I also believe that because workers are all adults they do have the ability to make choices. In many cases, it would seem that we have the power to better manage some of these causal factors, but we choose not to.

Parents of young children say it all the time–”make good choices.” Instead, we default to “desperate” behavior habits where: the immediacy of action overrides the intelligence and/or relevance of the action; our focus is on the act and method of communicating such that what we are truly communicating loses its value. In so doing, the quantity of interactions becomes more important than the quality of those interactions.

Some default behavior is a result of laziness. We live in a society in which many believe that if we can get away with something, we do. If no one is paying attention, maybe we can check our phone rather than pay attention to our work. Some workplaces have rules about not being on a personal cell phone during working hours and people ignore this rule all the time. Some of this default behavior is due to excuse-making or a lack of accountability, and I’ll even allow for a bit of ignorance here and there.

And speaking of checking our personal cells while on the job, or sitting at our work computer checking our email, much of our problems is due, I believe, to a lack of thinking. Dr. Forni stated in The Thinking Life, that “…deep thinking is the illustrious casualty in the digital revolution….” I believe this is very true of our time. In this technological age, we are focused on things and neglect people as a result. Many of us don’t even answer our phones and rely on voice mail. We seem to care more about connections than connecting and we are often uncivil because we rely on our devices to do our thinking for us and a device, last time I checked, is not human. As a result are in the habit of not thinking for ourselves. We don’t consider the impact of our words and actions beyond the short-term, and we don’t consider the impact to others. We’ve stopped thinking, so we’ve started making bad decisions. And then because we continue not to think, we’re not learning from our mistakes, and so the cycle continues.

Heads up, managers, think about getting your employees engaged. Think.