CHAPTER 24Make Civility Your Guide

Have you ever experienced road rage? Got caught in the crossfire of a Twitter war? Lost a friend over a Facebook post? Or been berated by a colleague? You are not alone. The annual report Civility in America, a multiyear survey by public relations firm Weber Shandwick, shows that there is a major problem in the way we treat each other.1 Has the sun set on civility? Has everyone forgotten the Golden Rule?

In the midst of a civility crisis, the only way out is to make civility your guide. The essence of civility, being conscious about being courteous and considerate, is the foundation of all relationships. Civility lets you disagree without disrespect, find a starting point for dialogue, and distance yourself from biases. Understanding the humanity and diversity of others lies at the heart of civility. Being more conscious solves our incivility problems.

So, what is incivility? Behaviors that belittle, demean, insult, bully, or rudely dismiss others. Many of us know incivility is wrong, but we don't do anything about it. Yet, incivility is contagious and poisons relationships inside families and teams. When people work under a cloud of negativity, they stop taking risks, make more mistakes, and fail to collaborate. Managers end up spending more time mending uncivil behavior. Team spirit deteriorates and customers get alienated by what they see. Mistrust and cynicism control the environment.

There is deep truth in the axiom “You get what you ...

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