Six Pillars of Civility: Responsibility

By | 2017-01-13T13:41:59+00:00 January 16th, 2014|Categories: Respectful Workplace|Tags: , |3 Comments

Over the past few years I have developed what I refer to as the Six Pillars of Civility. Over the next few months I am going to explore these six qualities, which in my opinion, are crucial to maintaining a civilized society. The qualities are important not only to a society, but also to the communities in which we live, work, and play. I hope these words will give you pause to think about how each of these qualities resonates with you.


Responsibility is critical for all interactions with our fellow human beings. Have you ever noticed how often people fail to take responsibility for their own actions, but rarely hesitate to let other people exactly what they should be doing?

There are times when we do not take responsibility for our actions, nor are we willing to accept the consequences for those actions. This leads to resistance and manifests in pain, fatigue, and confusion. No matter what our situation may be, we almost always share some responsibility, sometimes a lot, sometimes a little; and discovering this unlocks the mysteries to many of life’s quandaries.

Of course, there is a flipside to every coin, and this one is ‘mind your own business’. As much as we think we know what’s best for others, it’s not our responsibility to make their choices for them. Allow people to make the right choice – for themselves.

In the business arena, misplaced responsibility – as I refer to it – is disastrous! My best advice to err on the side of taking as much personal responsibility as is reasonably possible for any situation in which you find yourself where conflict of any kind is present. Also, avoid like the plague giving your unsolicited opinion on how others should behave. Don’t forget the law of physics that states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is going to happen whether we force it or not.

What do you do when you experience such conflict?

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About the Author:

Jay Remer
Jay Remer is certified by the Protocol School of Washington as a consultant for corporate etiquette and international protocol. He lives in St. Andrews, NB, Canada. For more information, visit


  1. Elisabeth Sobczak January 31, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    I started approximately a year ago incorporating this type of content into my “customer service” teaching. Because we do not have another category to put that under, I am asked to present on customer service, but when I get there, I tell them it has absolutely nothing to do with customer service and everybody laughs. Then I tell them it has to do with “human service.” If you serve the “human side”, the customer service is inherently delivered. If you non-judgmentally care about people and accept and welcome the differences in one another, the opportunities are infinite. I appreciate you and because we need more of this. My goal is to continue, through humor and real life examples, help our employees with what I call, “Thinking Diversity.” After upper management had experienced my presentation, word spread like wildfire and I have been requested to travel sharing this message. So thanks for all you do and keep it coming.

  2. Melanie Sklarz
    Melanie Sklarz January 31, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    How exciting, Elisabeth! And many thanks for reading.

  3. Sandra Hill-McCowan February 8, 2014 at 8:25 am

    Thank Heavens you have taken it upon yourself to write this. I gifted a book entitled the “Forgotten Gentleman” to my husband this past Christmas. He remarked, “I thought I was a gentleman.” I responded, “So did I, but not so much anymore, READ THE DAMN THING.” Your behaviour reflects on me and you know, it’s all about me!” LOL
    Finishing schools; what ever happeded to them? I found myself in the first one at age 13…and ballet at age 4. My Mom was a drill Sargent and was just making sure…
    It is not what most think…but then most do not think about etiquette anymore. But people welcome others that behave in a genteele manner and with a wicked sense of humor.

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