{Choosing Civility}

This semester for my Leadership course, our class was assigned a book pertaining to leadership styles in the real world. My group was given the book Choosing Civility by P.M. Forni. With these books we were asked to read, reflect ad present to the class what ways these leadership styles had effected us, as well as others, and ways that we will be able to use these leadership skills in the real world.


Choosing Civility is a book made up of 25 rules of considerate conduct written purely to spread kindness and civil acts of manners in your every day life. My group decided to separate the book up into sections then explain to one another the overall concepts and rules of civility each of us read about. Before presenting, each member of our group passed out sheets of papers with genuine compliments or nice things to say about each person in our class and cohort with a sucker attached to it. Personally, it was so rewarding to see the reactions of the people that I wrote my letters to because that simple look to me showed that they care about me too. My sections I was assigned to present mainly pertained to respect of others. As I was reading about these three main points I really got a chance to reflect on how I am able to use these rules in the real world. As simple as they may seem, they really did stand out to me personally in the way I live each day. The three rules that I were assigned were to keep it down and rediscover silence, respect other people’s time, and respect other people’s space.

  1. Keep it down and rediscover silence- This section of the book discussed ways to applying your indoor and outdoor voices to the location in which you are at. For example, if you are in a movie theater or the library, you are expected to keep quiet and if you do talk, to considerably whisper. However, if you are at a football game you are able to and are encouraged to boisterously use your voice as you wish. Overall, it is right to use your voice in ways that is respectful to those around you and to properly tone your voice to a reasonable level depending on where you are using it. I related this concept to leadership in ways of knowing when to speak up and when to step back and listen to others. I believe that is important as leaders to grasp this concept because I believe everyone’s voices should be heard, not just one. I believe that it is an important concept especially, to compromise decisions and results that the team agrees on to allow comfort, peace, and success in a group.
  2. Respect other people’s time- This section of the book mainly discussed the concept of committing to timed schedules with others such as appointments or meetings. The book explains that you can do so by reminding yourself of these scheduled times and prioritizing them before other things that may come up in your personal life or things that you may have last minute changed to interfere with said scheduled time. This section also discusses that when you reschedule, take rein checks, are late, or simply don’t show up to commitments that you make, it is not only rude, but it takes up the time of those who are committed to it. Ways you can fix these types of situations from occurring, according to the book, are to use a form of discipline. While presenting this rule I related the concept of discipline to the ways we are penalized on my dance team. My coach has a 3 strike policy. If we are late to practices, workouts, performances or games, if we miss practices, if we go to practice, workouts or games unprepared, etc., we receive a strike. After 3 strikes you are penalized from the next future performance. You are also penalized from the next future performance if you miss practice the day of that performance. After a certain number of penalizes, you will be at risk of getting kicked off the team. This gives us motivation to always remember to be on time, come prepared, and always strive to be all around the best at what we do. I truly do believe highly of this process because it has never been something that I have encountered in my life and I feel as though before I was introduced to commitment policies, I didn’t recognize just how much time I wasted for others and how rude that is of myself. This book has helped me to realize that using policies like my coach does can help in organizations, appointments, meetings, or any scheduled timed events that will occur in my life. Always respect the time of others and don’t ever waste your own.
  3. Respect other people’s space- Within this section of the book, the rule of respecting other people’s space, spoke in volumes of ways that standing a certain distance from someone and cleaning up after yourself may seem so small, but it can mean so much. Did you know that in some countries it is more respectful to stand closer or farther from people while having a conversation? It is interesting to recognize other people’s cultures in their every day lives in comparison to our own. Even though we learned about it in preschool and will forever be scarred with the Barney song about it, it is so so crucial that you clean up after yourself! It honestly boggles my mind to see how cleaning up after yourself has become so much less of priority of high school and college students. I always try to keep this one in mind especially after moving into a dorm with 3 other roommates. Mommy isn’t around any more to clean your things so do your own dishes, do your own laundry, fold your own clothes, clean your own shower, desk, sink, carpet, hair, and anything else you may have constantly lying around because it is rude to invade the space of others and it is simply just something that you should teach yourself to stay organized and healthy. In a leadership setting, respecting other people’s space is key to finishing a project that each person has responsibility for. For example, say you are planning a homecoming dance and the night before you transform the hallways and the school gym into a beautiful dance floor with posters and red carpets and lights and balloons. Regardless of how successful that dance may or may not go, you and your group were the ones responsible for all of the compliments that you got for putting all of those decorations up and making it look pretty, so your job is to transform it back to the way that it was. It is a simple concept that I have found has been mistreated in recent years that you must take responsibility for your actions which includes cleaning up after yourself in order to respect the space of others.

Overall, this project has really made me reflect on ways to respect others and show them that you care about them through acts of civility and kindness. This book has taught me to earn your respect through being respectful and to always mind others in all that you do. Choosing Civility has caused my group to begin exhibiting ways that we can be civil and kind to others in unexpected ways in order to show them respect and to receive the same in return. I hope it does the same for you!:)



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