Activity has been feverish since returning from holiday.

Client coaching convo’s, research, speaking with prospective clients, interviews 1, 2, teaching at CoachInc, and several lunches sandwiched in between.

In addition to all the professional busyness, you know I enjoy my white space. I’m learning to play  Clair de Lune on piano, running on the open road and the park (albeit Clydesdale style,) and reading 1Q84, a novel by Haruki Murakami.

I’m not a fan of novels. I favor to peruse history, memoirs, and historical fiction. Regardless of the genre, if the work fails to bring me in by the first two or three pages, I’m out.

Scripts are different. I’ve produced eight plays and I love thumbing through an hilarious farce and seeing the words come alive on stage.

The opening pages of 1Q84 has Aomame, (Ah-oh-mah-me) a 30 year old woman, stuck in traffic in a cab on Tokyo’s Metropolitan Expressway. Not wanting to miss an important meeting with a client, she leans forward and listens to the cabbie reluctantly and inadvisably reveal an alternate shortcut

After volleying the pros and cons of the driver’s risky idea, she emerges from the taxi in high heels and mini-skirt, then gingerly climbs down a three story high emergency escape ladder to the street where she hops the train at Sangenjaya Station determined to make her appointment. (I couldn’t believe what happened next.)

Murakami’s 1Q84 has me hook, line, and sinker. I look forward to the next 886 pages.

Since my writing time has taken a back seat to other activities, this week’s post is provided by John Hersey, President of the domestic division of my assessment company, TTI Success Insights.

I’ve read my fair share on leadership. I help clients improve and define their leadership skills. I conduct a workshop called The Leadership Challenge based on the book of the same name.

I always ask myself, “Why is it, so many people struggle with being a good leader? It’s common sense isn’t it?”

That’s why I like John’s straightforward message on making a return to civility. I hope you enjoy the piece as much as I did.

Photo by MFinChina.

Reclaim Workplace Civility Through Personal Leadership

There’s a lesson in leadership we can all take away from the ongoing saga involving embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

You know Sterling. He’s the longtime, cantankerous team owner whose face is plastered all over the news due to his insensitive comments toward minorities that got him banned from the NBA.

Of course, this isn’t the first time nor will it be the last time someone’s insensitive comments will backfire on them.

Remember the controversy surrounding celebrity chef Paula Deen when her past use of a racial epithet was revealed for a workplace discrimination lawsuit? Deen quickly lost her show on the Food Network, along with millions in endorsement deals.

 How about radio shock jock Don Imus and his racially insensitive comments in 2007 about the Rutgers women’s basketball team?

This sort of behavior should come as no surprise to anyone.

In fact, we have been honoring this kind of behavior for some time throughout the country and seemingly in every profession. Sterling, Deen and Imus were just several of the more notable recent examples.

A return to civility?

Perhaps the reaction to Sterling’s “mistake” has less to do with racial issues and greed than it does to our growing desire to return to a world with more civility.

Deep down, I long for the return of Cary Grant, or someone like him. The Cary Grant we watched on the big screen was the poster boy for civility. Who do we have now?

It begins with leadership

Alas, there are no Cary Grants around to mend our ways, as our society and the business world have become terribly sloppy and disrespectful.

We all know it, yet none of us is willing to do anything about it. We complain and wait for someone else to step up and correct the problem.

This is about the leadership attitude of courtesy and respect. Let’s start with how we treat each other — and let’s begin in the workplace.

When was the last time you witnessed someone holding the door for someone? Or how about the simple courtesy of returning a phone call?

How about “please” and “thank you,” the two most forgotten words in the English language? What if we all practiced using these magnificent words again?

Will the real leaders please stand up?

Leadership corporations around the world are faced with an enormous challenge: finding and keeping great leaders.

Perhaps some organizations could distinguish themselves through the leadership culture they create by returning respect, courtesy and civility back into the fold.

Thinking discourteous behavior is humorous and allowing it to persist only makes it worse. The good news is that turning this around is not difficult.

If we all would just stop waiting for someone else to fix the problem and started our own personal leadership mission to reclaim civility, it would turn on a dime.


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