Civility, an Emerging Area of Specialization in Emotional Intelligence

A wide range of organizations are beginning to address the increase of incivility that is becoming pervasive throughout American society. Hospital chains, State Bar Associations and local governments are some of the organizations taking the lead in providing basic training in “civility”.

What is civility?

Civility is behavior in public that demonstrates respect for others and that entails curtailing one’s own immediate self-interest, when appropriate. Civility is made up of three elements: Civility is the common language for communicating respect for others and their views (the importance is in the gestures of respect more than the outcome of the behavior); Civility toward strangers requires that we behave in certain ways toward people who may mean nothing to us, and whom we are unlikely ever to encounter again, in the interest of hearing their thoughts; and, Civility involves holding back in the pursuit of one’s own immediate self-interest – we desist from doing what would be most pleasing to us for the sake of harmonious civil discourse with others, even strangers.

Since no universally agreed training/curricula for “civility” currently exists, the range of interventions includes the following: ethics, spirituality, emotional intelligence, anger management and etiquette.

On April 29, 2008, Anderson & Anderson® presented a successful training in civility. This training included emotional intelligence, stress management, communication and anger management. This training was the first civility-based seminar approved for Attorneys in the State of Illinois. It was well received and highly rated by those in attendance.

Daniel Goleman, the preeminent expert on Emotional Intelligence, offers the following tips on civility: “Conduct yourself with integrity, courtesy, and respect toward fellow members of our community”; “Hold individuals accountable for their actions”; and “Promote an environment where individuals feel safe and supported.”

Emotional intelligence already contains all of the skill sets needed to increase civility in individuals, groups and organizations. Anderson & Anderson® has long addressed these same issues in our comprehensive organizational training in anger management and our Executive Coaching/Anger Management for Physicians.

George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAP
Diplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers
Anderson & Anderson®, The Trusted Name in Anger Management

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