Understanding civility – character begets civility

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Sometimes civility manages conflict and preserves our freedom; sometimes it does precisely the opposite. We may be obligated to sort out which is which.

This New York Times article should be studied by everyone. We need to understand that civility is not just about being “nice”. I have long held the view that civility is an outcome. When people bemoan the decline of civility, they are really bemoaning the decline of character.  

Over the last couple of years, I have been writing a series of articles for MoneyInc called ‘A Boomer’s Guide for Millennials - The A B C’s of Leadership’ where I have identified 26 characteristics, one for each letter of the alphabet. Next month the final segment ‘Z is for Zenist’ will be published.  

Next year the series will be published as a book called ‘Portraits of Character - The A B C’s of Character Building’, where I build on the characteristics by profiling individuals, current and throughout history, who exemplify each characteristic. Everyone who I have identified are people of character, who while having to take some pretty hard positions, were unfailingly civil.