Leading with Civility: Notice Little Things

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Why does noticing little things matter?

At first glance, taking time to notice what is going on around you may seem like a silly request or a big responsibility.  This action is truly about mindfulness or simply paying attention to what is happening in the moment.  Perhaps you could decide to notice the sounds and sights of nature if you are outside.  Another way to notice little things is to  observe how people are responding to your interaction with them and respond with compassion.

Author P.M. Forni of Choosing Civility: The Twenty Five Rules of Considerate Conduct says: 

 When we pay attention, when we are alert to the world, we improve substantially the quality of our responses and therefore the quality of our lives and the lives of those who touch ours.

Image of PM Forni Quote

What are your thoughts? Does paying attention and being alert to the world make a difference?

Gather 510 px squareThe Seeds of Civility is a blog that is created by The Wallace Centers of Iowa.  Here we gather tips for leading (and developing emerging leaders) with civility.

First Voices of Civility


firstvoiceforniCivility experts like P.M. Forni who wrote, Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct and Sara Hacala who wrote Saving Civility: 52 Way to Tame Rude, Crude & Attitude for Polite Planet have provided a structured path of insight to the concept of civility.  Forni gives us 25 rules  and Hacala give us 52 ways to be civil.

Knowledge is often the first approach to change. However, if we stay at the knowledge level of learning our brain will sort and classify in a way that tends to focus on what is wrong. Knowledge opens our eyes to the world around us and we see start to incivility everywhere.  Civility Quote from Sara Hacula

The Wallace Centers of Iowa  teaches civility with the refreshing and uplifting perspective of appreciative inquiry.  Workplace learning programs utilize the knowledge from authors like Forni and Hacala and apply the information to a simple five to eight question civility strengths assessment. Participants are asked to identify which small actions come easily to them. A workplace simulation helps participants see the benefit of all the small actions and invites them to try actions that are less comfortable or natural to them so they can see improved results.

In addition to the workplace learning offerings, the leadership and civility lunches bring fresh voices to civility. Speakers like Kevin Pokorny  encourage us to be mindful in our connections with each other so we can have productive and respectful places to work.

Do you know a fresh voice of civility?

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The Seeds of Civility is a blog that is created by The Wallace Centers of Iowa.  We cultivate conversations about leading (and developing emerging leaders) with civility.

Appreciation: Insight from #PeopleSkills Chat – Feb 15, 2015

Following along and learning from Kate Nasser’s weekly twitter chat has proved to be insightful.  This is the third post based on learnings from the chat.  The first week was about optimism and diligence and the second week was about silence.

So far, all the topics related to people skills connect to the concept of civility because it is the small actions and the skillfully applied behaviors we take as individuals that lead to respect for others.  We don’t have to wait for respect to give respect.  According the author P.M. Forni, we can choose civility.

This week, rather than list all ten questions, the focus here will be on Question 8

Are people more likely to appreciate others like them or different from them? Why?

A few comments to ponder….

Henry Wallace quote on diversity

Henry A. Wallace spoke about needing differences, or in his words, “all kinds.”  While it is easiest to appreciate what we know, a deeper and compassionate look at others can lead to appreciation, respect and better outcomes.  For those that decide to appreciate others, you become a seed in the process of creating a more civil workplace.

Graphic of Cultivate Seeds of Civility is a blog that is created by The Wallace Centers of Iowa.  Here we cultivate conversations about civility in the workplace.