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What has happened to Civility?

When you look at the current political rhetoric, it can be quite difficult to listen to. Quite apart from the element of fear that politicians are attempting to induce, there is also something painfully lacking that could be characterized as common decency. Rather than positively promote what you can do, the tendency is to discredit your opponent by whatever means, which to many boils down to a sheer lack of civility.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, authors Porath and Pearson suggested that the price of incivility (rudeness or lack of respect) is hurting morale and ultimately the bottom line (and indeed our country’s reputation). They go as far as to suggest that “leaders at work (and in politics) can counter rudeness by monitoring their own action and fostering civility in others.” Common sense and life experiences would suggest a general nodding agreement with this sentiment.

There are a variety of strategies that can be employed consciously to ensure civility.

1. Respect – everybody deserve this no matter who the other person is and irrespective of where they fall in the diversity spectrum.

2. Self Awareness – watch yourself and solicit feedback to make sure that how you show up is consistent with your intentions.

3. Vulnerability – put yourself out there and do not fear moving outside your comfort zone or making mistakes.

4. Optimism – see the good first, seek the opportunities and make choices accordingly. Where you focus (optimism) is where you typically tend to go.

5. Compromise – make agreement the main focus; by understanding differing points of view it will help move towards a decision that is for the larger good.

All of these behaviors also lead to reciprocity. In politics, though current experiences would tend you to think differently, that might be a decision to vote for you. You will find the more civil you are, the more civil others will be with you.

About Bill Sex

Bill Sex is President of New England Coaching and specializes in supporting personal, professional and organizational advancement with specific emphasis on coaching skills, emotional intelligence and employee engagement / motivation.

One Response

Comment from Neil Tolhurst
Time: August 14, 2016, 8:55 am

Excellent points and agreed with completely. Civility, courtesy, and respect have decreased far too much. Some people complain and oppose what has become known as PC or political correctness. Much of what has become labelled as PC is simply being civil, respectful, and courteous to others. Those behaviors don’t need the controversial PC label, they are just ways to be decent to our fellow humans.

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