A recent Oprah show included a segment with Dr. Forni, author of Choosing Civility: The Twenty-five Rules of Considerate Conduct. The discussion was on the importance of civility in today's world, especially the workplace and the internet. I thought about it for several days, did a word search on Dr. Forni, read related material and, as often happens when you want to write something, it took a few more days for the ideas to come together in my head before I put them down in writing.
I had read where there was a connection between laughter and your health. What I found fascinating in reading about Dr. Forni's work, was the connection between civility and your health. Equally affirming for me was the role empathy plays in a person's personal and professional worlds. Why? because I've long known I was empathetic. What I learned in reading The Other Side of Civility is that medically, socially and professionally, empathy is a good trait to possess.
What I've learned from working with clients is that all too often a career has gotten sideways because someone crossed the line of civility while talking to an employee, a supervisor or the boss. Even more interesting is that there is frequently a somewhat established pattern of career crises brought on by the person's inability to control their words when they are under stress. Today you can add the internet to that story and suddenly things can get terribly out of hand. For some reason, many people feel that what they say on the internet is private. It isn't and their lack of good manners and common sense quickly shows through by the pictures and words they put on Facebook, YouTube and MySpace. Add blog sites that encourage ranting and raving and suddenly your persona is one of a troublemaker. Now when people (ie HR personnel) are searching the internet to get a "picture" of you before they consider you for a position, the picture they get is one of someone who they may feel cannot be trusted to keep company information confidential because of what you've said on public sites.
Recently, I heard someone say you should never put anything on the internet you would not want your Grandmother to show to her church members. There's truth in that statement. In today's world of instant communication heard 'round the world, remember the importance of good manners. Need help being convinced? Read "Choosing Civility - 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct".