GLS21 Notes: Require Civility to Lead

Published August 5, 2021

Around the world, there is a growing sense that civility has been traded for a much lesser discourse. As leaders, more than ever it is our role to lead back to civility.

In his talk at The Global Leadership Summit, Shola Richards explored practical ways to lead yourself and others in this endeavor including eliminating what weakens us, the distinction between kind and nice, and being leaders that leave a wake of civility in our path.

Enjoy these official session notes to help you dive deeper into what you learned!

Shola Richards

The Need for Civility
    • We are defined by how we treat each other.
    • There are two types of people in this world: those who make you feel good when they walk into the room and those that make you feel good when they walk out of the room. The difference is civility.
    • People follow you because they choose to or because they have to.
    • Incivility are the behaviors that make you lose faith in humanity.
    • Georgetown study – 25% take out frustrations on customers, 48% intentionally decreased their work effort, 78% commitment to organization declined
    • What we allow is what will continue.
    • I worked in a work environment that could only be called soul-destroying. I said I was done. I made the decision to take my own life. I didn’t just think about suicide; I attempted it. I’m a suicide survivor.
    • We are defined by how we treat each other.
How to Lead Others with Civility
    • Brennan Manning – “In every encounter, you either give life or drain it. There is no neutral exchange.”
    • There are a lot of leaders that are unaware of how their words and actions impact others.
    • You need to connect to your hire self when you come to work. You remember the person you said you were when you interviewed, that’s the person.
    • Kindness is what we need from our leaders. Holding people accountable, standing up to bigotry and racism. Giving loving to someone who is suicidal.
    • I am a kindness-extremist. People call me “Brother Theresa.”
Five Values for Leading Others
    1. Value their Ideas (Work) – respect the wisdom of the people closest to the work. What tools can I give you to make sure you serve them better?
    2. Value Their Roles – appreciate the importance of everyone’s unique contribution. We all play a role. Is the shortstop more important than the left fielder?
    3. Value Their Time – Consistently honor their most precious resource. Start and end your one-on-one meetings on time. Put your phone away and just focus on the person.
    4. Value Their Skills – Demonstrate that you trust them and their ability to get the job done. The highest respect you can give someone is to trust them. You can love someone and not trust them.
    5. Value Their Humanity – connect personally, recognize their effort and show them grace. All bad behavior is an unskilled expression of an unmet need.
    • We are defined by how we treat each other.
How to Lead Self with Civility
    • My dad gave me a lesson on leading self. He pulled me aside, “I need you to be the buffalo, not the cow. When a storm comes, the cow turns away from the storm and prolongs the suffering. But the buffalo turns to the storm and goes into the storm. His time in the storm is shorter and because he has done what is hard, he is made better. Lead yourself through the storm.”
    • “The difference between where you are and where you could be is the amount of pain you are willing to endure.” – Craig Groeschel
    • Leadership is really hard. Be aware of the words that weaken us. Don’t self-sabotage. “I’m not good enough.” “I don’t matter.” “I am unlovable.”
    • You need a self-civility statement. Here’s mine: “I belong in any room that I walk into.”
    • Leading self with civility through actions. Maintaining healthy boundaries. Removing yourself from toxic relationship. Asking for help. Forgiving others. Reach out to a therapist.
    • You’re born looking like your daddy. You die looking like your decisions.
    • Some people in your life need to be loved from a distance.
    • We are defined by how we treat others, and it starts with how we treat ourselves.
    • Commitment is doing what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.
How to Leave a Legacy of Civility
    • If your leaders did not have their authority over you, would you choose to follow them anyway?
    • Your legacy is not about titles and degrees. Your legacy is defined by how you treat others. That is civility.
    • When someone passes away, you don’t sit around and talk about cars, degrees. What you’re doing instead is remembering how they treated you.
    • “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
    • Lead with civility. The world needs it more than ever. Your decision to do so will be your legacy.


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