Each of us wants to be respected - University of Wisconsin

In the spring of 2006, employees of the University Community at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire were
asked to complete a web survey related to one’s ideas about civility. Of those responding, 67 self identified as
Faculty or Instructional Academic Staff, 53 as Administrative and Professional Academic Staff, 56 as Classified
Staff, 13 as Limited Term Employees, and 2 unidentified.
The following quotes are survey excerpts.
“I find the vast majority of my contacts at UWEC and in the Eau Claire community to be quite civil. It’s one
of the things I like about living here.”
“I have to say that my students at UW-Eau Claire are far more civil than at any other university that I’ve
taught at. Maybe it’s something about being raised in Wisconsin…”
“You don’t have to like someone to be civil, but you have to treat them as you wish to be treated.”
“Everyone should be able to interact with the expectation of being treated in a civil way.”
“Respect is an all important word in civility – respect of one another is the most important. Treat people the
way you want to be treated.”
“If you choose to act in a civil manner, I believe you try to do so in all of your roles, with all of the people
you encounter, regardless of the situation. Civility is a fundamental stance based on the belief that all people
deserve to be listened to, respected, and treated with dignity.”
Additional excerpts from participants in the survey have been organized around four themes:
1. Showing Respect for One’s Opinions, Ideas, and Beliefs
2. Showing Respect for One’s Personal Differences and Feelings
3. Showing Respect for One as a Unique Individual and as a Member of the Team
4. Showing Respect for One’s Property, Space, Time, and Situation
Within each theme, quotes by P. M. Forni, cofounder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project and author of
Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct, are included when relevant.
{Forni, P.M. Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct. St. Martin’s Press, New York. 2002.}
Showing Respect for One’s Opinions, Ideas, and Beliefs
“Having paid attention – real attention – to her friend’s observation, she makes sure she understood it correctly.
She asks him a question that allows him to clarify what he has in mind. This is a smart, kind, and civil
strategy of listening, one that not many adults either master or are willing to use.” (pg. 49)
- respectfully and actively listen
- use a respectful and neutral voice tone and non-threatening eye contact to show that you are listening;
neutral voice sounds (uh huh, etc.) show that one is tracking what someone is saying, etc.
- assume that the speaker is simply sharing what he thinks and that if one pays attention one may be able to
find some common ground – even if that ground turns out to be a respectful agreement to disagree
- show a willingness to listen – listen without interrupting when another is speaking
- consider other’s opinions – giving respectful attention to all points of view
- listen more than you talk – do not monopolize the conversation or meeting
“Respecting others’ opinions doesn’t mean being untrue to our own. It simply requires us to recognize that others
are entitled to look at the world differently and that when they share their views with us they can expect a fair
hearing.” (pg. 77)
- respect the right to hold different opinions and still be friends/colleagues
- respect differing opinions – show respect not through tolerance or by silence, but by discussion
- focus on content and issues rather than on individuals or personalities
- focus the discussion on issues rather than the person(s) taking a stance one way or another on those issues
- respect the exchange of ideas and show an openness to new ideas
- avoid condescending remarks about another’s answer or beliefs or thoughts
- avoid harsh responses to suggestions in a meeting
- solve disagreements in a calm matter and understand that you may just agree to disagree on how things
should be done or solved
Showing Respect for One’s Personal Differences and Feelings
“Think the best of your fellow humans and act accordingly.” “Let’s make an effort to get closer to those who are
different from us and with whom we usually don’t associate. Let’s give them a chance by approaching them
as free of prejudice as possible, with genuine respect and a kind disposition.” (pgs. 44, 57)
- always be respectful of everyone and their contributions
- Respect others whether they are like you or not
- show a willingness to accept the actions of others in the spirit of good will until the absence of that spirit
is proven
- understand different personalities, attempt to work with one another in a ‘win win’ approach with a team
end goal instead of lack of respect of one another, non-acceptance and spreading gossip
- recognize we all have varying styles and respect what others are trying to accomplish or ask if uncertain
- give consideration for both personal and professional interests
- Be aware of how your behavior affects others
“Speaking with consideration and kindness is at the heart of civil behavior… When you speak kindly to others,
you manage to keep them in mind as you speak – which means keeping at bay, at least for a while, the
pressing demands of your needs.” “Before you speak make sure that your intention is to help with a problem
and not to humiliate, manipulate, or exact revenge.” (pgs. 60; 141-142)
- find value in every single thing said or asked, being thoughtful and aware of how your choice of words or
actions may be experienced by another person
- don’t say anything via email that you would not say to someone’s face
- don’t say inappropriate things
- explain why something is not appropriate – don’t just tell one it is or is not
- maintain honesty, honesty, honesty – don’t lie to people
- take responsibility and acknowledge when one is wrong or has wronged someone
- be willing to critique while remaining respectful
- squelch the gossip; don’t talk behind someone’s back
- treat each other kindly while utilizing the best communication skills to hear each other out
- have consideration for each other’s current ‘climate’, providing support when appropriate, asking for
support when appropriate and frequently ‘checking in’ with your colleagues to know their ‘climate’
- value one another as intrinsically worthy human beings
- gain a general understanding of each other’s cultural backgrounds that make us different
- treat one another as unique beings with feelings
- provide constructive criticism aimed toward a process or action – not a particular individual
- be positive and optimistic
- share positive comments
Showing Respect for One as a Unique Individual and as a Member of the Team
“Being inclusive means applying the principle of respect for persons to all persons.” (pg. 55)
- communicate to everyone on what the issues of the day are
- do not exclude people; send minutes of meetings to all, not just to some staff
- consensus may not always be made, but inclusion must always have been offered
- promote a level playing field where everyone’s opinion is valued - putting less stress on titles and/or
- be as fair as possible when working with groups or individuals
- stress cooperation over competition
“A greeting is a minimal yet meaningful conferral of honor on a person for just being a person. With it, not only
do we acknowledge and validate, but we also put at ease and wish well. We announce that we intend no harm and
express our concern for the well-being of others. As we do so, we invite others to look upon us with the same
benign disposition we have toward them. This is the stuff civility is made of.” (pg. 42)
- make eye contact, say ‘good morning’, show a genuine attitude of caring
- provide the same manners, kindness, etc. to both those one works with or supervises
- treat all levels of workers as professionals
- treat support staff the same as you treat colleagues
The “inclination to express sincere praise (as opposed to flattery) continues to be a most captivating character
trait of the civil.” (pg. 69)
- compliment people on the good they do
- appreciate and recognize employees who carry heavy workloads
- respect the various gifts everyone has and the jobs they do
- look for areas of praise to give one another and other colleagues versus the negative
Showing Respect for One’s Property, Space, Time, and Situation
“Your guiding principle is that you want to leave somebody else’s space as undisturbed as possible. …Not
abusing the property of others (or of the community) is one of the ways in which we respect others.” (pgs.
127, 129-130)
- recognize that the office environment needs to be a quiet place where staff can expect to perform duties
without having to compete with noise and loud voices – be quiet outside of office doors
- remember that the staff has work to do and respect the need for privacy and space
- ask permission to use the belongings or ideas of another
- clean up your own messes
- respect the environment – pick up trash, don’t spit on floors; take care of your living space and where you
work or go to school
“We respect other people’s time when we learn to value it as much as our own.” (pg. 96)
- respect personal space, property, and time,
- take up your share of the work of the department (not shirking duty)
- meet agreed-upon deadlines
- be careful of the demands placed on others – they should be realistic
- don’t have unrealistic expectations on the amount of time to complete a task
- wait your turn when several people want to use the same equipment or speak to the same person
- always recognize there are two sides to each situation – if you do not understand, ask the appropriate
- be willing to accommodate extenuating circumstances; don’t pretend extenuating circumstances exist if
they don’t
- recognize that most people are working hard
- respect the work, talent and expertise of colleagues
- learn to read (email) and take time to better understand a person’s written or verbal comments, to
understand their perspectives and work related demands and requirements before flying off the handle,
making rash, rude, uniformed comments about a person