In poll after poll, Americans have voiced concern over the erosion of civility in modern life – in human interactions, in government, in business, media and online. According to a poll released last year by Weber Shandwick, 95 percent of Americans agree that “Civility in America is a problem” and 65 percent say “incivility [here] has risen to crisis levels.”
If civility is “polite, reasonable, respectful behavior,” or what we used to call “good manners,” why should we even care? Shouldn’t civility just come naturally? Apparently not, when some people seem to think it’s ok to bully others, attack people personally, and curse or swear indiscriminately.
America seems to have a civility-deficit and millennials are incivility’s biggest adult victims.
What to do? Here is a 6 point plan (created by the Freemason’s Civility Task Force and Board of Directors in 2014):
1. View everyone in positive terms. Seeing everyone as a potential resource and agent of change helps to level the playing field and engage all stakeholders.
- Develop a common language. The language we use can either unite or divide people. How can we discuss change if we don’t understand each other? Being aware of the problem, and agreeing on the terms to be used, is a good start.
- Build strong relationships and trust.It is impossible to overstate the importance of trust, which builds bridges across boundaries and makes relationships solid.
- Remember our shared humanity. It is easy to forget we are all humans, with more commonalities than differences. Common sense and history tell us we can work together to solve common concerns—and that when we separate ourselves, we are less effective.
- Value both the process and the results. The gap between the two causes many people to give up on collaboration. Results-oriented people need actions with observable outcomes, and process-oriented people focus on continuing the methods that drive the action. Both are crucial for improving communities.
- Look both within and outside the community for guidance. People living in communities need to take responsibility for their problems and find actions that will address them. But we also need to recognize when to accept and use resources that are available from outside of the community. All resources need to be leveraged around a healthy attitude toward self-improvement.
We, at the Career and Professional Development Center, want to help you be your very best self – successful in your career as well as finding happiness, meaning and fulfillment in your life.
That means being civil – a productive citizen who respects and values others. It’s not true that nice guys finish last. To be successful is to feel strongly about your opinions and beliefs and to express them politely and respectfully.
By: Malka Weintraub, LCPC Career Coach / Counselor