I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough.

I’ve had enough rudeness, incivility, lack of respect, lack of accountability. I’ve experienced this kind of behavior all too often, much more than you would expect.
Store clerks, restaurant servers, customer service reps, help desk phone operators, even drivers on our streets and highways.

Now, I’m not saying that I’m guiltless in this. I’m sure, with little effort, someone would be able to point to a time or circumstance where I displayed rude or uncivil behavior. I’m as much to blame as anyone which is why I want to bring this up.

I want to change.

I want to see the world around me change. As Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I want to see a more civil, more respectful world. I want to see people greeting each other, helping before being asked, putting the comfort and well-being of others before themselves. I want to see a world where people reach out and help others, not because it’s trendy, or because it’s expected, but because it’s the right thing to do.

I would like to see a return to civility, a return to ancient codes of Chivalry. I want to see a time when we return to a personal code of conduct that we adopt, live, and instill in our family.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if that happened?

What would that mean in your life; in the lives of your family, your children? What would it mean in your work or professional life? How different would your stress level be if people treated everyone with kindness and respect? For you executives, entrepreneurs, and small business owners: What would that mean to your business and your customer-base?

What is rudeness and incivility costing you?

Studies have shown a correlation between rudeness in the workplace and the impact to productivity and customer satisfaction. One study showed that a customer who witnesses an act of rudeness – not even directed at them, but witnessing a business’ employee being rude or uncivil to another employee – will choose to take their business elsewhere. If a manager is rude to one of their employees, the employee is more likely to be rude to a customer. And an employee who is treated rudely by a manager or colleague will lose focus and attention to quality, curtail their productivity, and in some instances quit altogether.

Those studies reported that people felt that they didn’t have enough time to be nice. Enough time?? How much extra time does it take to be civil? But that was the excuse; the people interviewed said they were stressed out, under pressure, and on a tight schedule so being rude was the only way to get their tasks – whatever those were – done.


Like I say, I’m over it. I think it’s time we get back to civility, to showing respect and courtesy to our neighbors – wherever we find them.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be exploring the topic of rudeness and incivility. I’m going to look at the historic code of Chivalry, the “knightly virtues” that define the Chivalric code, and explore how we can – and should – bring those virtues back into our everyday lives. I’ll explore what those virtues might look like today and suggest ways we can all incorporate these virtues into our own personal code of conduct. And I’ll challenge each of you to think about how you deal with people and how you might improve your civility: at home, at work, and at play.

It’s up to us, as leaders, to take those first, critical steps to establish a culture of civility and to embed those values into our businesses and our people. I hope you will join me in taking those first steps.

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