The Need for Civility Among Us

civility at workThere is a definite need for civility among us.  If you are barely alive, you have been acutely aware of the term, civility, and how no one seems civil to anyone anymore. We see and hear this as we listen to news reports on television, watch interactions at our shopping malls, or interact with business professionals on various means of conversations.  Our country appears more divisive than ever.  Putting that aside, my question is, “Why are some of our business leaders not being civil to their people, clients and other contacts?  Why can’t business people find it civil, or polite, to answer a text, e-mail or return a voice message?”

People can justify ignoring these contacts by making all kinds of excuses: “too busy,” “don’t want to answer that person,” or “I’ll ignore the question and hope it goes away.’  Do we not realize what that behavior says about the person who acts in this manner?   Why can’t we be polite enough to return messages, even to say, “Thanks for the call, but I am not interested?”  Or, “please don’t call again.”

Perhaps returning the message could result in a benefit for the receiver.  Manners matter!  Civility in the business world matters.  When messages are ignored, the sender automatically regards the receiver as arrogant, non-caring, someone who doesn’t respect the sender and is a poor leader.  Guess what the sender tells others about that receiver.  How is their reputation affected?  Obviously, I am not talking about responding to tele-marketers, that is the topic of another blog post.

As a professional business person, my messages do not reflect the tele-marketing operation format.  Mine are recognizable as a professional seeking information, answers to questions or making contact for other reasons.  Recently, I made a call to an executive with a plan to assist him with his business need.  He had previously expressed a problem with his organization that he wanted to fix.  I left a message with his receptionist for him to return my call.  He never called, although we have had many conversations in the past.  A business executive, being civil to others is an important leadership characteristic.  Do not permit the present patterns of our everyday culture pervade your workplace.  Be civil and answer your inquiries in a timely manner.  Who knows what gem is waiting for you and how your reputation will be polished?

About the author. Dr. Gene Gatty is a partner at Strategic People Solutions, a business consulting firm, helping businesses add value-assets to their businesses. For the past thirty years Gene has been providing business leadership mentoring and solving HR employment issues. His past experiences include public school superintendence and classroom teaching. For more information about leadership mentoring or building a business to work brilliantly, visit www.strategicpeoplesolutions.com.
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