Civility: A Leadership Imperative?

From the Center for Creative Leadership

Civility is a virtue. But in a say-anything culture, is civility outdated?

Absolutely not, according to several authors and business leaders. Christine Pearson and Christine Porath make the business case for civility in their book, The Cost of Bad Behavior: How Incivility Is Damaging Your Business and What to Do About It.

Is civility lost in coaching?  Does the ego-mad world of major college athletics have anyone saying anything they please?

P.M. Forni, a Johns Hopkins professor who directs The Civility Initiative at the university, touts the workplace benefits of civility, too. He also reports that “good manners aren’t just good for others-they’re good for us, too.” Social and relational benefits are top of the list, but civility also has physiological benefits including lower levels of stress and better functioning of immune systems. His books include: Choosing Civility: The Twenty-five Rules of Considerate Conduct and The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude.

I have yet to add these to the ABR Reading and Movie list.  If you have read either of these books, please email a brief review to:


Tom Peters, too, is a fan of the civility movement. On his blog post, “Soft? Never! Try: Money in the Bank! Try: Civility!,

Peters cites Pearson, Porath and Forni and writes: “I am hooked on the “power of civility” and the “power of thoughtfulness” as the Number One Long-term Moneymaker. (As well as a virtuous way to live.)”

I thought of this yesterday after reading through some of these things and again when I came in contact with an old friend – Mr. Tom Konchalski of the HSBI Report. Tom Konchalski is the Editor of High School Basketball Insider.

Tom Konchalski

Tom Konchalski

If a boy’s high-school player wants to get a major college scholarship, Konchalski is the man he has to impress. Countless prospect-charting Websites litter the Internet, but Konchalski’s High School Basketball Insider is different—the paper newsletter makes its way into the hands of coaches at roughly 225 schools, most of them Division I.  I can’t give you a link to the HSBI website – there isn’t one.  You can’t go to his BLOG – there isn’t one.  Mr. Konchalski is a very wise, old-school veteran of the East Coast high-school scouting scene for 25-plus years.  The Queens-based Konchalski mails his newsletter individually to hundreds of coaches and writers who in turn reward him with information—which means any player he’s following is assured attention, scholarships, or even a direct ticket to the NBA.  Above all, Tom is “Mr. Civility.”

I have know Mr. Konchalski for nearly all of my 25 years in the coaching profession, and he has NEVER not greeted me with a sincere smile, and hand shake, he NEVER forgets my name… he NEVER forgets the last time he saw me… who I have worked with and for… AND, he is always the most civil and polite person I may possibly have ever met.  Find ONE person that can give you and instance of when Tom has spoken harshly to them, mistreated them or done something wrong and I can almost guarantee you the person is wrong.

There are lessons here for coaches, players and families in our world of “Jerry Springer” type of BS interactions.  Reality TV does NOT need to become reality.

Let’s bring civility back to our coaching, recruiting, player and staff relations.  That doesn’t mean we can’t challenge each other, disagree and strive for greatness.  Show civility to each other and TRUST each other.  We will all be better for it.


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