Is civility dead in business (and life)? If so, how do we bring it back?

Moment of Shame Truth

It’s hard to watch the news lately. It is heart-breaking to see a not-so-slow-motion train wreck of our collective ideals and values as a nation. Whether it’s politics, business or our personal lives, many of us probably need to ask ourselves the important questions more often. How low we can go in American society, politics and business? Can we bring it back around? Are there more people out there that believe all of “this” is just fine compared with those of us who say “this” isn’t anything close to civilized or even okay? Where do we go from here?

Of course this is my opinion but it seems to be something we’re all stressing over on a daily basis. Is this true?

Probably because I have spent a career in healthcare, I take values, ethics and an overall moral core very, very seriously. I have quit jobs because of my beliefs. I have called out the most senior leaders because I simply won’t compromise truth and other imperatives of leadership. I serve at the pleasure of patients first and foremost, not profits or corporate structures above all else. It is clear that if you take the perks of leadership you also carry the heavy responsibility. You must put self interests aside to always work in the better interests of humanity. You work to elevate people not marginalize them or harm them. Otherwise you don’t get to take the paycheck and you shouldn’t accept the title. Not a complicated equation.

Given that high ground I have carved out for myself, there’s no debating the embarrassing and shameful truth that I have behaved badly on too many occasions. I have to check myself on that one. And, I have to do better.

In my opinion, we don’t see accountability for this disappearance of a civilized core in politics, business or life today. Manners are seemingly gone. Civility is receding. Selfishness is on the rise. Bad behavior is rampant. Truth and intellect seem to be regularly attacked and mocked as not really important or positive. It seems that if you can craft a statement to rationalize a shaky point of view or action, then by all means do it and do it with vigor — right or wrong. We almost seem to respect the aggressiveness and skill of lying and justifying. Does anything go in today’s world? Are our standards really that low? There’s too little accountability about this. Too little calling ourselves out for this and saying we have to do better.

Protecting civility and decency isn’t about sides. It’s not about rationalizations. It’s not about excuses. It’s gone off the rails and I believe we need to collectively act with urgency to get it back.

I’m curious to hear what the LinkedIn community thinks about this.

What do you think? Is civility off the rails?

Can we get it back? How do we get it back?

Content Laboratory

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