The Redesigning Wellness Podcast

137: Incivility in the Workplace with Catherine Mattice Zundel, Founder and CEO of Civility Partners

SUE Talks by Women Lead and Connected Women of Influence; photographed by TRUE BLUE Portrait

According to Christine Porath and Christine Pearson’s polling of thousands of workers over 14 years, 98% have experienced uncivil behavior. It’s not hard to imagine incivility when every day examples are interrupting co-workers, sarcasm and a rude email. Simply put, incivility leaves the recipient feeling devalued and disrespected.

The truth is that we can’t always blame it on other people who are uncivil. We all contribute, whether we’re the ones actually doing it or as a bystander. All it takes is a little rudeness and sarcasm and you’re there. The scary thing is that if incivility goes unchecked it can lead to bullying. As today’s guest Catherine Mattice Zendel tells us, 99% of bullying scenarios start out as incivility that goes unchecked.

Catherine, founder of Civility Partners, is a Strategic HR Consultant who assists organizations in building positive cultures through HR practices. In this interview, Catherine tells us what led her to start her company, she explains the spectrum of bad behavior (where incivility and bullying falls), what causes bullying and why these behaviors go unchecked.

She explains the many ways organizations can make more civil workplaces and leaves us with what we can do as wellness pros to contribute.

Interview highlights (with timestamps):
  • [5:15] Catherine’s experience in a toxic workplace.
  • [7:46] The definition of workplace incivility and bullying.
  • [10:58] Catherine’s experience coaching workplace bullies.
  • [15:35] Why workplace bullies go unchecked and the impact to organizations.
  • [19:35] The causes of bullying and incivility.
  • [24:35] What organizations can do to make the workplace more civil.
  • [31:35] How bystanders reinforce bad behavior and some tips for how to speak up.
  • [34:27] Catherine’s tangible tip for wellness pros.
Mentioned in this episode:

The Kindness Diaries

Christine Porath: The Price of Incivility (HBR article)

Linked In profile

Full Bio:

The founder of Civility Partners, Catherine Mattice Zundel, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is a Strategic HR Consultant who assists organizations in building positive cultures through HR practices. Catherine is a widely recognized thought-leader in HR, and she is passionate about employers’ responsibility to create the opportunity and environment for employees to thrive – it shows in her sheer number of conferences and publications.

She has appeared on/in NPR, CNN, USA Today, and more as an expert, she has published articles in a wide variety of venues, and was a regular contributor to

Catherine’s award-winning first book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, was hailed by international leadership-guru, Ken Blanchard, as, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She’s since written two more books, and is a LinkedIn Learning course author.

Get a flavor for Catherine’s speaking style here.