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.


Encouragement matters. It is like the gasoline in your car or the food in your belly. It shows us that we are connected to one another, and that what we do really matters. There is no better way to build a healthy and successful business or to maintain a vibrant workplace community than by positive reinforcement.

This reinforcement can come in many forms, the spoken word of encouragement being the most powerful. Simple words such as ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ can speak volumes. By acknowledging what someone else does makes a difference in your life, the efficiency of the team, or the company at large, can make the difference between that person having just another day at the office to having a great day at the office. People who are having great days get a lot more done than people who aren’t.

The opposite of encouragement is bullying. This toxic buzzword has permeated offices for a few years now and is reaching epic proportions. This is sadly the case because bullying has overtaken encouragement as the modus operandi for much of the corporate world. This needs to change PDQ!

The success of this dynamic depends on the actions of upper management. ‘The boss’ sets the tone of any business. If he or she gives praise where praise is due, the work environment becomes one of mutual respect. A tough boss is not defined by his authoritarian tone, but by his actions. A tough boss sets high standards for his employees. When they hit the mark, they are praised. When they miss the mark, they are either dismissed, or they are redirected in an encouraging way to do a better job. A place of business is not a kindergarten where handholding is required, nor is it a salt mine.

How is the encouragement barometer in your office registering? Time perhaps to kick it up a notch? Encouragement will produce results.