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Monday, December 26, 2016

Mastering Civility

Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the WorkplaceMastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace by Christine Porath
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

Everyone wants civility in the workplace. People want to be treated fairly. The author makes the case that civility is good for the bottom line, and can make the workplace better. There are several tests in the book to determine how civil you are.

The book sounds like a lot of others I've read. It's good as far as it goes, but there are some things missing. For example, she recommends that employers ask prospective employees, "What would former employers say about you?" In many cases, the answer is, "They will only confirm dates of employment." Thanks to lawsuits, many employers are skittish about saying anything beyond that. Most companies won't go the trouble of deeper investigation.

Another area that doesn't go that far is in her chapter on what if incivility happens to you. Her advice is to focus on yourself and your situation. That's fine as far as it goes, but it doesn't address the situation when the incivility raises to discrimination or harassment. That requires focus on eliminating the problem, rather than simply focusing on yourself. That area was missing.

A minor issue. She uses Pete Carroll, coach of the Seattle Seahawks, as an example of civility in the NFL. After he left USC, the NCAA found significant recruiting violations had occurred during his time there. USC had to vacate several wins, including a national championship, and lost several scholarships. Reggie Bush gave back his Heisman Trophy. There was a sense that Pete Carroll got out of Dodge before the hammer fell. I don't think that was a good example.

Overall, a good book, just not complete.

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