Is civility considered a sign of weakness?
Dan Soriano In fact I think civility is a sign of strength if you are not able to adapt or if you refuse to develop that is a sign of weakness. Also, if I say I’m civil then I should understand why a person is behaving rudely. There could be reasons, maybe they are not educated, secondly they are doing it on purpose. So I try to understand them and if there is a chance I try to educate them.
Marjan Asarzadegan You need to first define what civility means, because in every culture and region civility has a different meaning and that is why we confront people Because to me what is civilised might be to you uncivilised. So, I think, maybe people might take certain kind of civility to be a sign of weakness according to how they have been brought up or where there from. Also civility might be considered a weakness based on who you are dealing with and some people do take advantage of the fact that you speak in a civilised manner and don’t deliver on time. I personally appreciate politeness.
Syed Luqman Faraz Like she said, civility is considered a sign of weakness by those who don’t have it. With respect to civility, i have worked with people with whom I can be the most polite person and they will say “yes sure, the work will get done” just as politely. But the work doesnt get done. Because in their head, may be, they think, “he is a pushover.” At the same time there are other people to whom if I say “please”, they actually honour that. But over a long period Of time when you’re dealing with one person whether civility is considered a sign of weakness ot strength depends on that person.
Why do you have to lose your temper to get work done?
Marjan Asarzadegan I personally think it goes back to how you were brought up as well as your culture. Our main business is in Iran but I grew up in Holland. So, coming from Holland, it was really shocking for me to see people lose their temper. When I came to Iran, at least in my office, I think there are a couple of reasons – from the management’s side or from the labourers’ side - that people lose their temper. Either the labourers don’t understand the task, so they wouldn’t perform because they are scared to ask, or they don’t have enough knowledge, or they are just being lazy. From the management’s side, sometimes they are [under too much pressure] and sometimes they may just want to practise their power.
Dan Soriano Sometimes if you see that the work is not done properly, and that happens constantly and you don’t see any improvement at all then you lose your temper. And it isn’t only with your subordinates that you lose your temper with, sometimes it can also be with your managers. If they just don’t listen to what you are saying and you feel that what you were saying could be very beneficial to the company. They have their own way and if they just don’t want to listen, that does make one lose their temper.
Marjan Asarzadegan But the funny thing is that people respond to that anger. That’s my question – if they don’t respond, people wouldn’t lose their temper. There are other places where you just can’t do it. If you lose your temper, they’ll kick you out. It is not accepted.
Syed Luqman Faraz When I joined my company, I was straight out of college. My boss knew that college life is a little laid back, so the first year he let me have a bit of freedom to get adjusted to the protocol. And whenever he saw that I wasn’t getting the protocol, he would explain it. The next few months, he resorted to losing his temper, because he understood that I knew the process but needed to be put into the framework. The third stage is when I have understood the protocol and follow it, that is why he shouldn’t lose his temper. If a manager still loses his temper then there is something wrong with the team.
Do people ignore bad behaviour because conflict avoidance has become second nature?
Marjan Asarzadegan I do have a difficulty with saying ‘no’ to people. I don’t want to make them feel bad or disappoint them, so I always say that I can do it, and I end up doing it, but it is not what I wanted. So, I think drawing that line is really important. Sometimes it is part of your nature to help people out. I enjoy giving joy to others, but sometimes you overdo it. And also, they don’t respect you anymore. Even if I just say ‘no’ politely the very first time, people realise that they can’t mess with you. But people do cross lines and you need to be clear with them.
Dan Soriano People avoid conflict, firstly , because they don’t want to lose their temper. Secondly, they’d avoid creating a big issue out of a small thing, so they prefer to ignore it. Thirdly, they consider bad behaviour as something that is below them, and they don’t want to come down to that level. But avoiding conflict is not really second nature, I think people actually just try to postpone it. Also because if you are angry you will not be able to hear what the other person has to say.
Syed Luqman Faraz One thing I loved about how my mum handled me as a child is she had a way of addressing my mistakes. The first few times I made a mistake, she would notice it but not say anything. But finally, when it got too much, the moment I made a mistake she would punish me for that action and then say, “You know what, you also did this, this and this” and make me realise I’ve been making mistakes for quite some time. You pick and choose your battles. Conflict avoidance is ridiculous, you turn into what [the author Stephen] Covey calls a doormat, everybody walks over you. Anger is a very valuable tool – if you use it too often, you just get a bad reputation.
Marjan Asarzadegan I am a person who never avoids a conflict. I will face every conflict, and in a way sometimes it is pointless, but sometimes I feel I have to do it as a person because if I don’t address it, it means I don’t care and I will do the same thing to the other person. Personally, I can’t do that. Either at work or in my personal life, probably 90 per cent of the conflicts I address are pointless, but at least I know that people will remember it and at some point in their life, they might use what I said. If you simply continue to avoid conflict, where is the society headed? If you keep avoiding every bad behaviour, thinking, “I don’t need to tell the peron that he rude,” or, “she doesn’t need to know that what she did was wrong,” people will only get worse. The easiest thing for anyone to do is to avoid conflict because they don’t want to waste their energy or time, but what they don’t understand is that this is your social life. Your children are going to live in the world that you leave. So, I would never avoid confronting someone for bad behaviour. If they have the right to behave badly, I have the right to tell them it is wrong. Then it is up to the person – whether they want to use it or not.
— Compiled by Huda Tabrez/ Community Web Editor