Civility Speaks and I Trust What I Hear!

If you’ve ever questioned the relevance and applicability of “etiquette and manners” in today’s workplace, I encourage you to think again. A few months ago, Lew Bayer, President of Civility Experts and Founder/Director of In Good Company (Etiquette Academy and Finishing School), talked about the power of civility and the core values underpinning trusting relationships.

Be they collegial, professional or personal relationships, research confirms 85% of our success in life is based on our social skills including:

  • Our ability to build and maintain trust;
  • Our capacity for increased cultural competence; and
  • Our enhanced social intelligence.

It’s not surprising that in order to build social capital, you need to engage respect, restraint, and responsibility in your dealings with people. In a world increasingly defined by technology in its myriad forms, the appreciation that collaboration is currency in the workplace brings a whole new meaning to what civility looks like, how it is defined, and where its effect is most strongly felt.

Lew offered a clear perspective on the role civility plays in our lives. She reinforced the notion that it’s not a once-in-a-while thing; true civility is a consistent, conscious awareness that our words and actions impact others. We can choose, everyday, to bring our best selves to the tasks at hand, to the boardroom table, and to the day. Civility builds trust; as I see it, social capital and the ability to inform, persuade and influence others is all about trust.

I recall leaving Lew’s presentation with a strong take-away, besides being inspired to meet the day’s challenges with a smile and a renewed conviction that I’m doing some things right. If I want to be the best Business Advisor I can be, so that my clients feel the full effect of my knowledge and commitment to helping them achieve success, then civility needs to inform all my interactions. Lew recommended two excellent books to help inform this perspective:

  • The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey
  • The Thinking Life: How to Thrive in the Age of Distraction by Professor P.M. Forni

In the ensuing weeks, a variety of benefits for what I will call my “intentional civility” have come to mind: improved attention, enhanced reflection and introspection, proactive and creative problem-solving, increased self-control and informed decision-making. What a civilized approach!

– Alanna Keefe