Thursday, May 15, 2008

Life is a Relational Experience: Civility, Ethics and Quality of Life



Conference keynote by Dr. P.M. Forni, co-founder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project

Civility is a search for gracious goodness.

The first half of our lives is a search for beauty; the second half of our lives is a search for goodness.

Civility and ethics = When we treat others as ends in themselves, then we are ethical agents.

Incivility often escalates into physical violence.

Causes of incivility
1. Lack of self-restraint
2. Anonymity and stress (When you believe that no one knows you, then you think that you can get away with anything.)
3. Pursuit of an individual identity in a society of equals

Neurochemistry of hostility and humor

Very often, we are rude to others because we are insecure, then we shift the burden to others through hostility and incivility. So think of yourself as an accomplished person instead of being insecure. Pretend you are being filmed and that the film will be used to train others.

Be prepared.
When we are caught unprepared, we get in trouble.

Visualize, reflect and plan
Be aware of your vulnerabilities.

Cool off and calm yourself
Deep breaths, count to 10
Don’t take it personally
Decide what to do
Pick your battles

By ignoring rudeness, you invite more. We teach others how to treat us by how much we’re willing to take.

When confronting others: state, inform and request
State what happened.
Inform the effect on you.
Request by making clear (I would appreciate it if in the future...)

The dreading is worse than the doing.

Deflect other people's deflections (excuses).
Stand your ground, defend your feelings.

Relational (social) intelligence is a better indicator of success than IQ.

Respect, restraint, consideration.

A leader = aura of power in repose

Howard County Public Library Civility Projects = Library programs and lectures

Manners are the training wheels of altruism.
Teaching children that our actions have consequences for others.

Organizational civility – crafting signs more gently, having staff talk to patrons. Train staff. Model civility in your libraries and in the greater community.

2 comments:

Spicer said...

James,
Thank you for blogging about the keynote by Professor Forni. I've been following the civility campaign in your area, keep 'Choosing Civility' on my bookshelf to refer to as I blog about civility from Iowa. Has anyone posted notes from the other sessions that day or have notes to share? You are posting some worthwhile information from my point of view.

Lynette Spicer
writing Civility in the Workplace blog
http://www.extension.iastate.edu/mt/civility/

James said...

Lynette,
I really enjoyed Dr. Forni's lecture and just started reading his book today. He was the keynote at our state's library conference. Wish I could point you to other notes, but, alas, he was the only speaker on the topic.