Hey guys, it’s Steve Ambrose from Walk The Ridge.ORG – a growing movement and learning organization for civility and inclusion. Today, I’m going to give a few tips on civility for the workplace.

Look, civility has become a really popular buzzword, right?

I mean, we see it in politics…read about it online…and it’s often lumped into our written policy at work.

And if we’re lucky…we get a fancy day or special week named after civility.

YIPEE! (heavy sarcasm)

To me, that type of accomplishment is a tremendous shortcoming to a powerful engagement tool. Falling far short of its potential to change minds, hearts, and relationships.


the beauty of civility like a filet


Think of civility today like serving the finest filet with whipped mashed potatoes and vegetables cooked just right. But it doesn’t come to you on fine china or pretty porcelain.

Instead, you’re getting this meal served ON A Rusty, dirty, and SMELLY garbage can lid.


civility presented poorly


So let’s start truly valuing what civility IS and its much larger impact…as well as the difference it can make to you, others, and your organization.  

Let’s jump into these 2 tips:

TIP #1 – Think of civility as a soft skill.

It’s NOT the golden rule. It’s NOT “being professional”…it’s NOT “just being nice to others”…and it’s not some behavior we can just turn on and keep on like a light switch.

Civility is a teachable, learnable soft skill that most people will NOT use or innately own by default.

Expecting people to behave with civility, especially sustained civility…when they don’t own the habit or skill – is like walking east and wondering why you never see a sunset.

So invest in civility. It’s a terrific and powerful complement to diversity, inclusion, and better culture.

TIP #2 – Make civility a part of your company or organization’s CORE VALUES.

Civility IS a terrifically tasty meal… BUT… it has to be served properly.

My recommendation is to bring it in through your diversity & inclusion team or your company learning. We also sell these unique reminder wristbands that serve as wearable anchors to help sustain your civility learning and habits.

Train on it…and let civility blend into different functional areas of your company (like HR, sales, marketing, IT, operations, and customer service). Brand it into your culture and share it out with customers, partners, and your community.

Civility done right… is a great catalyst for people – their growth, engagement, and performance. And here’s why…

People, at their core….are emotional creatures. This is one of the reasons that it’s said that people don’t leave companies…THEY LEAVE COMPANY CULTURES.

And I want to say a few words about Diversity and Inclusion.

These are so powerful and important…but they don’t exist only in one’s color, religion, age, gender or any other legally protected class. Diversity and inclusion apply also to our unique opinions and views.

So many people for so many years were (and still today are) disliked, disassociated with, and hated for the color of their skin. Now, we find bullying, hate, and name-calling online, at work, and in our communities often based solely on a lack of agreement with our views or opinions.

I wonder what Dr. King would say?


martin luther king civility


How far have we come when we seek to first dislike on the difference of opinion…vs. listening, learning, and recognizing the content of another’s true background and character?

Sure…we see it in politics or social issues. But limiting our view of civility to that would allow us to miss on improving so much more…and with so many more lives that can be positively touched.

What about the many business decisions we make or are a part of when managing projects and people?

Decisions on hiring, firing, where to spend the sales budget, and how to reorganize strategy. Even personal issues such as where to go out for dinner or deciding on how to invest for your family’s future.

Any time there is a possibility for disagreement with strong emotion…then that’s a time for civility.

One final point to remember…and this I can’t stress strongly enough.

We know people have lives outside of the office.

So when your people are truly learning, improving on and owning better habits and behavior with civility – it helps their engagements with others at home, in the community and online. This is where teaching, learning, engaging, and reinforcing civility in communication is far superior to mere policy and assumptive behavior expectation alone.

Civility IS the gift of engagement that helps us listen, learn and grow. It’s great for you, your family, your employees, and your community.

Now go take on your day…. in an even BETTER Way!