Leading Towards Civility

Written by Maren Schmidt on March 06, 2018

Leading Towards Civility

Over the past four months we've looked at teaching civility. 

We've considered that there are key questions we need to keep in the air every day:

Who do I want to be?

  • Do you want to be a person who values others?
  • Who helps others succeed?
  • Who removes obstacles to success?
  • Who creates a culture of kindness and respect?
  • Who creates a place where people connect to their best selves?

As a community, there are key questions to address:

  • How do we act as a member of a community, a place where people live, work and play together?
  • What rules do we live by?
  • What is our civic duty?
  • How can we be kind?
  • How can we give respect?

We've looked at personal strategies to deal with incivility:

  • Don't go there.
  • Use a stop sign.
  • Make a plan.
  • Put on your oxygen mask first.
  • Set the tone. 

There are high costs to incivility:

  • The kick the dog effect.
  • Loss of potential customers.
  • Loss of employees.
  • Excess sick days.
  • The sabotage effect.
  • Downhill performance. 

You've learned how to calculate your costs associated with sick days, turnover, tardiness, student retention and recruitment. 

If your numbers are higher than the average, you have a big clue that you may be dealing with incivility in your community.

The power we wield as teaching leaders is not to be disregarded.

We may have more power to effect lasting change than protesters, lobbyists, or legislative bodies.

Our community members seek our leadership.  When we are with a child, a parent, a teacher, we can personalize the lesson to help that person learn to live with kindness and respect and to live a life of civility. 

We can be the change we wish to see in the world, one person at a time. 

It starts with choosing to treat every person you meet with kindness and respect. 

It begins with teaching civility. 


Additional reading:

The Best Leaders Are Great Teachers: They Personalize Instruction to Help Their Employees Soarby Sydney Finkelstein. Harvard Business Review, January-February, 2018.

Mastering Civility by Christine Porath

Treating People Well, Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard


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Tags: leadership, school leadership tips, teaching civility