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Set the Model for Office Behavior Even seemingly trivial acts of incivility can lead to reduced employee productivity and loyalty.

By Chris Penttila

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Any workplace is an eclectic group of personalities, and co-workers can rub each other the wrong way with the things they say and do. Some days, it's easy to annoy a co-worker without even trying.

But what about the subtle, petty slights that are meant to offend? Maybe it's an eye roll, a sarcastic reply or an exasperated sigh. These seemingly trivial acts of incivility speak volumes to employees on the receiving end who become less productive and less loyal.

"We found that 1 in 8 people will leave an organization because of [incivility] and not report it," says Christine Porath, a management professor at the University of Southern California and co-author of The Cost of Bad Behavior: How Incivility Damages Your Business and What You Can Do About It. Porath collaborated on one survey that found that 80 percent of participants who experienced impoliteness lost work time worrying about the incident, while 48 percent deliberately decreased their work efforts. "People performed a lot worse when they experienced incivility," she says.

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