10 Civility Insights #Peopleskills – Feb 8, 2015

Here are the 10 questions Kate Nasser asked on her Sunday, Feb 8, 2015 Twitter Chat.  Reviewing it here gives us an opportunity to gain insight about civility and leadership in the workplace.

1.  Silence is a powerful form of communication.

Silence is one of the main ways to listen well.  Alternatively, silence can lead to an unintended meaning in the workplace.  For example if we are silent in a meeting it could be sending a message of agreement.

2. Becoming skilled at listening well and speaking up gives silence positive power.

Because silence is a powerful form of communication it can have big effects on the world.  The biggest impact comes when we become skilled in civility practices like listening well and speaking up. Then we know when to pause and when to ask questions that promote others to speak up.

3. Silence becomes the trouble when speakers lose their power.

Silence also becomes trouble when speakers become too complacent speak up or too fearful.

4. Children are our future, they need to learn the nuances of speaking up and silence.

The effects of the belief that “children should be seen and not heard” can prevent children from learning and developing important civility practices that will make future workplaces strong, resilient and sustainable.

5. Silence is golden in the workplace when…

Silence supports an opportunity for others to speak up or an opportunity for reflection. Silence is not golden when it recklessly conveys agreement or is used because of fear of a leader’s reaction to speaking up.

6. Silence in the face of injustice…

promotes at best complacency and at worst agreement with the injustice. In the workplace this kind of silence in that face of injustice will lead to bad decisions and eventually legal challenges.

7. Great leaders are skilled at silence.

Great leaders know how to utilize silence to give people time to think and time to respond. When they notice silence they inquire in one-on-one conversations rather than assume that silence equals agreement.

8. A leader’s silence can cause trouble especially when there is trouble.

The leader will be most effective when he or she is skilled at speaking up and connecting with the right people to root out challenges before problems become too complex to change.

9. Mindful vs. Mindless

Silence is liked when it is utilized in a mindful way. Silence is disliked when it is used in a mindless way.

10. Finding the balance between silence and verbal interaction can be found through applying the civility practice of noticing little things.

Noticing little things is the skilled approach to vigilance from the #peopleskills chat discussed last week. Allowing silence in the form of a pause after a curiously asked question is a form of optimism because it allows for the belief that other people have the answers, they just need to be asked in a non threatening way and given time to respond.  Next week Kate Nasser says the #peopleskills chat topic will be: Love/Appreciation.  That should prove to be an equally worthy topic.

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.