We are in the midst of a civility crisis. You don’t have to look far to see people being uncivil to each other. From political leaders to parents at soccer games, people are constantly at war with each other, even if it is only a Twitter war!
The only way out of this crisis is to make civility your guide and North Star! 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 a dialogue, and distance yourself from biases. Understanding the humanity and diversity of others lies at the heart of civility. Being more conscious helps us to solve our incivility problems.
So what is incivility? Behaviors that belittle, demean, insult, bully or rudely dismiss others. Many of us know that incivility is wrong, but we don’t do anything about it. Yet, incivility is contagious and poisons relationships inside families and work teams.
When people work under a cloud of negativity, they stop taking risks, make more mistakes, and fail to collaborate. Some of the negative effects in the workplace are:
- Managers end up spending more time mending uncivil behavior
- Team spirit deteriorates
- Customers get alienated by what they see and hear
- Mistrust and cynicism control the environment
Conscious people realize that in every interaction, there is a human being on the other end of each connection. Acts of civility are the small sacrifices we make for the good of all and the sake of harmoniously living and working together. By being civil to others, you show mutual respect, appreciation and fairness.
Become a Mature Adult!
It’s not easy to grow up and become evolved adults. Often, a degree of arrested development follows us through adolescence, college, and our early work years—and beyond. We are vulnerable to being hijacked by people and situations that push our buttons. Relationships and life can be messy, and the stress of life in this tech-filled world is not easy. But if we want to live in a civil society, we need to regularly turn to the mirror and ask ourselves, “Do I have the courage to take the high road? What’s so wrong with admitting mistakes, being generous, and saying, ‘I’m sorry’?”
Being a mature adult means having the ability to see the bigger picture and reprioritize personal needs and self-interests to play on the team. Maturity is about being a fully developed person with all of your imperfections.
Blaming others for the growing incivility in our world or ignoring the people around you, just serves to compound the civility problem. The real buck stops with you. Can you awaken your courage to be civil in our polarizing world? Conscious people say “yes,” stay present, and lead the way.
If you look deep inside yourself, you will see Conscious as the solution to being more civil. It will empower you to Step Up and be the person you want to see in others. Empathy begets empathy, trust begets trust, candor begets candor, caring begets caring. The more civil we are with others, the more civil they will be with us.
Tips for Conscious Living:
- Assess Yourself. Take a moment to simply stop and reflect on what you are grateful for in your life. Keep a gratitude journal. Share one thing you are grateful for each day with your family or co-workers around a meal.
- Practice the Golden Rule.Do unto others as you wish they would do unto you. Give without expecting in return, honor others with your full attention.
- Commit to being civil every day. Be kind and loving. Catch people in the act of doing something right! Words and actions matter.
- Create a civility code at work. Call out civility when you experience it. Be conscious of how you relate to others.
Make Civility Your Guideis a strategy in the Step Uppractice in our book CONSCIOUS: The Power of Awareness in Business and Life. The other practices are Go Deep, Think Big, and Get Real.