Leadership Lessons

Can We Make Civility a Norm?

By Dr. Herb Byrd III

Coming home from the UT Board of Trustees meeting, I listened to an interview of the current governor of Utah, Spencer Cox.

One reason for the interview was that he and his opponent in the election pledged to run a civil, clean campaign. The person doing the interview tried multiple times to get Governor Cox to say something critical about other political figures with opposing views. Governor Cox did a masterful job of talking about issues and would not make negative comments about people. While demonstrating a willingness to listen, he did not take the bait to disparage another person.

Sunday afternoon on the way to Nashville, I heard another interview on NPR radio about communication. The main point was that we should “listen to understand.” Or, as my friend and retired UT professor Kathy Greenberg always said, we should “listen to be influenced.”

Governor Cox believes the pendulum is beginning to swing back toward civility and a willingness to listen. Currently, these two traits are in seemingly in short supply in many leaders today. Can a civility revolution begin with each of us as we L. E. A.D ! ?