Civility?

Name calling! Finger-pointing! Backbiting!

Blaming others seems to be the norm these days. Should it be?

Tear down this wall!

Years ago, East and West Germany became one nation. A wall was torn down. It is time our walls between differing ideologies, values and opinions come down.

Effective leaders cultivate a safe and supportive climate in which relationships are based on inclusivity, trust, and mutual respect. Only in a supportive environment can people feel safe to express differences of opinions and work toward “win-win” solutions.

This country and so many communities, groups, and political organizations need to listen to each other. Not just not talk and take positions, but to listen to why people hold a particular view. The environment we create teaches generations of individuals how to think about, talk about, talk to, and treat one another.

Listening is an action!

Listening is a skill that requires intentional development. Just as you needed to learn how to walk correctly, relationships require the skill to actively listen because much of the time when an issue arises, the problem on the surface usually has a problem behind it where the true issue lies.

We each view life and the issues we encounter through our own filters. Unique opinions and values form through our environment: the people we grew up with. Live and work around. Our experiences, thoughts, and perceptions about them. The values we have formed throughout our lives. We create environments everywhere. Family. Friends. Work. Worship. The grocery store. The car. Play.

Inherent in every relationship, conflict is a difference in perspectives. The diversity of perspectives within relationships helps generate ideas and facilitate change. If it is managed wisely, conflict is an opportunity. Listen for values to identify the issue.

Don't just talk about an issue, talk through it

The search for common ground on tough issues is more productive using a technique called "deliberative dialogue," seeking "why" people hold their position. Dialogue talks through an issue, not just takes a stand about - for or against - an issue. When you seek to understand the "why" others act the way they do, you discover a person's values. From there, you can work together to identify a positive outcome in a safe space. People can come together, talk through perspectives on issues, and find common ground that will create a better environment.

Consider these questions when identifying the "problem behind the problem." Be sure to intentionally involve all affected parties in the dialogue.

Naming the issue: What do you think is the problem? What bothers you?

Framing the issue: What can/should we do about the problem?

Deliberating to understand values: If we do what you suggest, what do you think would happen?

What would be fair? Effective?

Why would we be better off? How would we be better off?

What is the downside?

If there is a downside, would we change our minds? What different course could we pursue?

Acting together to find common ground: What would you and the affected parties be willing to do about the problem? What are you willing to give up to do what you want to do?

Are you seeking civility? Check your environment. See if people listen to and respect one another. If you need a technique, try deliberative dialogue.

"The Be WUCA! Way" teaches civility.

Learn - Do - Teach.