It’s a pleasure to be here in Baltimore at your prestigious university after that “frankenstorm” you experienced here on the east coast. Here’s a photo taken not long after its’ establishment in l856 In contrast to the date your university was established, Canada, my home, only became a country in l867.
Here’s a photo of your famous mascot Testudo the Terrapin. What I didn’t know is that back in 1947, students from that “other university” Johns Hopkins stole Testudo and took it back to their campus. U. of M. students followed and laid siege to the building where it was being held. A riot ensued and 200 extra police had to be called in to restore order U of M officials wisely after poured 700 lbs of concrete into Testudo, making it difficult to steal.
Today is election day, and the campaign has been so serious, with a lack of levity occasioned by old campaigns. While delivering a campaign speech one day, Theodore Roosevelt as interrupted by a heckler “I’m a Democrat, the man shouted,” “May I ask the gentleman,” Roosevelt replied, “why he is a Democrat.” “My father was a Democrat, and my grandfather was a Democrat,” he replie, “and I’m a Democrat.” “my friend, replied Roosevelt, “suppose your father had been a jackass, and your grandfather a jackass, what would you be?” The heckler promptly replied, “A Republican.” Make sure you get out a vote today, whether you are Democrat or Republican
My home is Vancouver, Canada, seen here in the photo, selected for the past 10 years as one of the top three cities in the world in which to live My apartment in on the water next to a large park called Stanley Park. It is our habit for my wife and I to walk around the park on a beautiful seawall, shown here in this next slide
Relate story of Diane and I walking on seawall
How many of you have been forced out of your walking path by people pushing, shoving or bumping you on purpose with no apology? How many of you have been victims of road rage? How many of you have been the target of an angry yelling person in a public place? How many of you have participated in an uncivil argument? How many of you have experienced verbal, emotional or physical abuse?
This photo also depicts something increasingly common—where no one gets up to give a seat to a pregnant woman, old woman or man, or disabled people, if the disabled seats are full
And incivility has spread to cyberspace Here’s a still image from the now viral video of Amanda Todd who committed suicide at the age of 15 after years of being harassed and bullied on the internet
Here’s a classic dictionary definition of incivility And yet it seems woefully inadequate. For example the emphasis on what is a conventional norm. What if our conventional norm increasingly tolerates rude behavior and violence?
Our tolerance for incivility has much to do with our beliefs about what constitutes a civil society. So for example, if we believe to have a civil society, we must embrace the concepts of respect, tolerance, the golden rule, free speech, the rule of law, fairness and justice. But what if a belief in the ideas of “the ends justifies the means” or that we are not our brother’s keeper, or that economic and social inequity is okay, what happens to those other beliefs in practice? Hold that thought, while we take a look at the issue of incivility in business and public, starting with a tongue in check clip from Monty Python
Here’s a look at incivility in public. Note the reactions of the people surrounding the rude man, and what they do
Negative behavior includes rude comments, insensitive actions, unintentional slights, complaining, gossiping, profanity Verbal aggression includes yelling, belittling, intimidation, discrimination, humiliation, extreme profanity Physical aggression incudes physical assault, violent outbursts, inappropriate touching, harassment, murder and war
In its most extreme form, incivility occurs in war, with sometimes the most extreme form in the treatment of prisoners What’s interesting is that research has shown that the perpetrators of the cruel incivility no longer view their victims as human beings, and that ordinary human beings, put in situation where others are cruel and inhumane, pick up that behavior
I know personally know something about being a POW and being a victim of extreme incivility Tell my story Lessons from my father and mother
Here’s a clip of a news report on the subject of incivility in the workplace
Examples of workplace incivility: Arriving late for meetings Checking email/texts during meetings/conversations Coming to work in negative mood Taking credit for others’ work Speaking inconsiderately or disrespectfully Asking for input and ignoring Side conversations in meetings Personal attacks Giving reprimands in public Using email or text to criticize or attack Humiliating others Controlling behaviors Gossiping and character assassination
What is interesting about the prevalence of incivility in the workplace is the phenomena of “emotional contagion.” That is, when negative emotions or uncivil behavior is prevalent in a group situation it grows like a virus and infects others, who wouldn't normally be that way
University of Maryland Presentation on Civility
The Rise of Incivility
and Bullying in the
Results of workplace incivility
$300 billion per year
Increased workloads after downsizing
Longer working hours
Lack of trust
What causes incivility?
Lack of feeling secure
People lack restraint
Lack of self esteem
Excessive individualism and greed
Anger, fear, mental health issues
Lack of social and economic equity, fairness
What are solutions to incivility in
Teach respectful idealogue/debate in schools
Zero tolerance in organizations
“no jerk” rule in hiring
Use of social mediate for “reputation.”
Boycott organizations that behave uncivilly
More economic and social equity
Measure quality of life differently