Why civility is good for business

Dignity, civility, compassion and professionalism. Humanistic Leadership in a nutshell.

There is a great ted talk on the importance of civility and how it's good for business.

I was

I was thinking about this the other day. Civility is good for business.

I live in an area that is still basically - segregated. It's getting better. But the laws that created the segregation in housing, work, etc - are still in force and you don't undo centuries of segregation in just a few years. Attitudes and civility and dignity has increased - but we still have way too many people who do not view some members of our community - as members of the community. And they are not civil about it. At. All.  This lack of civility is real in places where segregation was an active force in community development.

How does this impact our economies? Well - it's pretty clear that in places in the US where diversity is the norm, you have booming economies. The economically depressed areas of the countries - are the places where segregation was enforced. This pattern holds - everywhere in the country.

Civility and dignity - isn't just about being nice to each other, though ... that is nice.  It's also about how we deal with and cope with people who are different than us.

Diversity is difficult. Dealing with people who don't share our backgrounds or religions, is difficult. And yet, most of us navigate that just fine - by being civil to each other. Through civility - we recognize our common humanity and dignity and worth of the people we are interacting with. 

That civility - allows us to work together and through that work - exchange goods and services with people who are different from us. It allows us create and generate wealth - separately - yet together.  Why? Because we aren't artificially restricting our customer base!!!! 

In places where segregation was enforced, that basic level of dignity and civility was absent.  The result - depressed economic activity as the building blocks for economic activity - were absent.

Diversity isn't just a moral good. It's an economic good. To get there - we have to  not just be more civil - we have to recognize the dignity of everyone with work with and all our customers. Which is why humanistic management and humanistic businesses and a humanistic economy is so important. 

Humanism - helps people cope without putting all their hope into what is essentially … a hoax.

I was chatting with a fellow Humanist Educator and we were discussing the benefits of Humanism. One of the benefits is -that it helps people cope without putting their hopes into - what is essentially a hoax.

What do we mean by that? Well - a lot of what humans do - is worry. I worry quite a bit. Uncertainty is stressful.  When I really want to know if things will work out - I flip coins to divine the future - until I start laughing at myself - because - seriously - I'm flipping coins.

It's a way to cope without putting my hope and energy and money - into things that don't actually work.  It's a placebo action. Something I can physically do to pretend to help - but that doesn't actually help. The point about flipping coins though, it doesnt hurt either.

Many times, we do things - that have no impact - because we feel we need to do something, and we end up making things worse.  So - in those moments - I flip coins - precisely because - it is harmless. 

There are other ways our anxiety about uncertainty manifests. When we have to make choices. 

The other day I was at a restaurant - and I couldn't decide what to order, so I did eeny meeny miny mo. My friend said - the great thing about doing that is - it helps clarify what you really want - when your answer is not what you really want.

And if you don't really care - then this random selection - helps fix your selection anxiety problem. 

What these things have in common - is they are ways to cope with uncertainty - to help is create clarity in your mind while giving you a tangible action to take that will do no harm. 

Placebo rituals - are a real thing that we humans really seem to need. My friend, who I was originally discussing this with - has his own placebo rituals he does - to help him resist the temptation to spend time, money and energy on things that don't actually work and we are ok with that. Why? Because we know - they are just physical things we are doing to reduce our anxiety. We aren't actually putting our hope into them.  It is when we put our time, energy, money and hope into hoaxes - that we cause ourselves problems. 

How should HR deal with a stubborn boss?


How should HR deal with a manager who refuses to see the world from other people's perspective? We are talking here about a manager who works at the company, but not the HR professional's direct manager. In other words, a member of management whose stubborn behavior is causing problems within a particular team, and perhaps one whom an employee has raised a complaint about.


There is what ideally should happen – and what will realistically happen. And the HR professional has to decide – which they are going to fight for.

A manager who refuses to see the world for another’s perspective – is simply a bad manager. Let’s be clear about this.

What ideally should happen Is coaching – to help that manager be a better manager.

Realistically  – someone who is an adult – who refuses to see things from other’s people’s perspective – probably isn’t going to respond well to coaching.  You have to want to improve what you are doing to actually improve.  And if they have a habit or an attitude – of not listening to constructive feedback – there is really nothing someone who doesn’t have authority over them can do.

Which leaves HR in a quandary. They know they have a manager that isn’t really a good fit for the job, but they don’t have the authority to deal with it.  Which means – to deal with it – they have to get buy in from upper management to work to fix the problem.

Ideally – an HR professional should have a working relationship with upper management to be able to consult on staffing issues – including management staffing decisions.  Ideally, they should be able to use those relationships to point out the staffing problem and suggest ways to fix it – that would then be implemented. Those remedies – would start with coaching and potentially end in the re-assignment to a more appropriate position (that makes use of their expertise – if they have any) or firing of the manager who isn’t doing a good job being a manager if their only skills is – management.

Realistically – most HR professionals don’t have that sort of relationship with upper management. They are not considered trusted partners. They are viewed as paperwork pushers that help make sure staffing accounting is complying with the law and payroll etc and that benefits are being administered.

How can they fix that? By actively talking about these things with upper management. Is that scary? Yes. But there is only one way to get upper management to view you as an equal partner – and that is to act as if you are an equal partner.  Does this carry risk?  Of course, it does. But nothing is going to change – if you don’t change it.

The alternative is to just allow the company to suffer as a result of the bad manager.

If you want training on how to handle difficult conversations or on how to train someone to behave better - I have HRCI & SHRM approved courses - here:

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