Civility – 3 Forms of Responsibility

by Jill Bremer, AICI, CIP

Incivility has reached a crisis level in our workplaces, schools, sporting arenas, streets, airplanes, and reality TV. Even our political system is filled with uncivil remarks, name-calling, and finger-pointing. The good news is that each individual can make a difference out there and cultivate an atmosphere of civility in our world and workplaces. How can we do that? By taking responsibility!

There are three different types of responsibility we need to focus on in order to create a civil society.

The first kind of responsibility needed is Professional Responsibility. What does that mean? It means you take responsibility for your work. You arrive on time, meet deadlines and pull your weight on projects. You listen well and follow through. You send clear, concise and unemotional emails, leave intelligible voicemails, and stay “present” on phone calls. If you work in a cubicle, you mind your own business and behave as though there are walls and doors.

Personal Responsibility means you take responsibility for yourself and your actions. You don’t blame or bash others, you admit your own mistakes. You don’t yell, make derogatory comments, use obscenities, or spread gossip. You clean up after yourself in break rooms, bathrooms, cafeterias. You do the right thing even when no one is watching, such as refilling paper trays, starting a new pot of coffee, or wiping down bathroom sinks!

Social Responsibility is the third type of responsibility, which means you help others. How can you mentor, support, encourage, or show compassion? If you’re a supervisor, supervise. If you’re a manager, manage. Are you a leader? Lead! Do what you can to help those around you – and your organization – succeed.

Take responsibility – and our workplaces and world will be better places because of it!

© 2013 Jill Bremer All Rights Reserved

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