Civil Discourse – Leaders Can Bring it Back

Civil discourse has all but disappeared in recent years. We now live in a time of hyper- partisan positioning and blame. Media sources and politicians alike pump out biased information in the quest for ratings and personal gain at the expense of good decision making focused on the best interests of our communities and nation.

Incivility does not lead to collaborative problem solving or good decisions. It is a destructive and downward spiral. As leaders, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to do what we can in our spheres of influence to pull back from the brink and return the local and national conversations to those that matter, discussed and debated with civility. We must do that with both words and actions, stepping out of our comfort zones and challenging the negativity and partisanship going on around us.

Your actions as a leader can play a key part in breaking the cycle of negativity and moving us all toward a return to civil discourse and better, more collaborative decision making.

Specifically, we need to:

  • “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s the “golden rule” for a reason – ageless advice and a good benchmark to vet your decisions and actions against.
  • Walk the talk of leadership by instilling, demonstrating, and advocating for the values that we believe in and that drive our companies to succeed. Speak and act with integrity and transparency.
  • Hold ourselves, our employees, and our circles of influence accountable to those standards we set. Celebrate successes and remediate misses, without overblowing the former or making excuses for the latter.
  • Stay educated on current city, state, and federal issues in as unbiased a way as possible. If no one is stepping up as a qualified candidate in races you are associated with or that impact your world, step up yourself or encourage qualified candidates to do so. This is not “somebody else’s job.”
  • Redefine what “politically correct” means and where and when its ok to talk about difficult matters. Bring important community and national issues into conversation at work, in your community, and at home. Do it in a balanced way, with respect for the wide variety of opinions you will encounter.

Together, we can make enormous changes. We have significant control over our corporate environments, and that is the place we can start, respectfully and with consideration for all positions. No matter the size of your company or the reach of your platform, your actions as a leader can play a key part in moving our communities and country in the right direction.