An Initiative Championed by the
Contra Costa County
Superintendent of Schools
Top 10 Principles
Chosen by the 2013-14
Contra Costa County Teachers of the Year
Acknowledge Others (August/September)
Speak Kindly (November)
Respect Others’ Opinions (January)
Be Inclusive (February)
Respect Other People’s Time (March)
Don’t Shift Responsibility and Blame (April)
Accept and Give Constructive Criticism (May)
Think the Best (June)
Choosing Civility, by Dr. P.M. Forni, lists twenty-five rules of considerate conduct. Over this school year, we will consider these “principles.”
“Accept and Give Praise”
Choose Civility Principle for December
I can live for two months on a good compliment – Mark Twain
Accepting and giving praise has many benefits and can be a powerful relationship builder with family, friends and co-workers. Many people however, are uncomfortable with praise and compliments. We can learn to embrace positive feedback and accept compliments graciously by giving thoughtful and sincere compliments to others. According to P.M. Forni, a compliment is a gift, one we are expected to acknowledge with the simple courtesy of a firm and heartfelt, “Thank you.” Forni goes on to write that the inclination to express sincere praise continues to be a most captivating character trait of civility. *
Following are helpful guidelines for delivering praise.**
- Be genuinely appreciative. Every person on your team is doing part of your job for you. While it is important to recognize the true home runs of performance, don’t forget those who plug along solidly everyday who are committed to doing a good job.
- Deliver praise from your heart. Your appreciation of their efforts must be evident in your facial expression, your tone of voice, and how you phrase your praise. You want your employees to know that the job they perform well is important to you, to your team, to your department, your organization.
- Deliver praise as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the quarterly (or annual) formal performance management discussion to mention something an employee did months ago. By continually observing performance, you can offer timely expressions of acknowledgement and appreciation. Genuine praise helps people feel good about themselves and even more committed to doing a good job.
- Make praise specific by describing the exact behavior or skill along with your expression of appreciation. “Nice work, Jim” is much less motivating than describing specific examples of what was done. Specific praise assures employees that you are truly paying close attention to what they do and how they do it.
- Praise people publicly. Acknowledging people in public accomplishes two important things. The employees feel even better as they are recognized in front of their peers. In addition, public praise is one way of reminding other employees of what you want from them.
It can take only seconds to deliver; yet the impact of consistent genuine, appropriate praise can be immediate and long term.
One of the best ways to become comfortable giving and receiving praise is to practice. Today, select five people to acknowledge with sincere praise.
*Excerpt from P.M. Forni's book, Choosing Civility.
**Source: Center for Management & Organization Effectiveness
PDF download: Monthly Focus for December
Civility is a core value of a well functioning community and one of its defining components. Quality of life depends in great part on how community members treat each other. This initiative will promote the importance of civility in a world becoming less civil, and encourage community members to choose positive and respectful behaviors in their personal and work lives.
What and How?
The initiative is inspired by the work of Dr. P.M. Forni, author of Choosing Civility: The Twenty-five Rules of Considerate Conduct. Through a broad-based, collaborative effort, the goal is to transform Dr. Forni's concepts into a concrete plan that can be easily integrated into the culture of government, businesses, organizations, schools, neighborhoods, and families throughout the community.
The Twenty-five Principles of Considerate Conduct
- Pay Attention
- Acknowledge Others
- Think the Best
- Be Inclusive
- Speak Kindly
- Don’t Speak Ill
- Accept and Give Praise
- Respect Even a Subtle “NO”
- Respect Others’ Opinions
- Mind Your Body
- Be Agreeable
- Keep It Down (and Rediscover Silence)
- Respect Other People’s Time
- Respect Other People’s Space
- Apologize Earnestly
- Assert Yourself
- Avoid Personal Questions
- Care for Your Guests
- Be a Considerate Guest
- Think Twice Before Asking for Favors
- Refrain from Idle Complaints
- Accept and Give Constructive Criticism
- Respect the Environment and Be Gentle to Animals
- Don’t Shift Responsibility and Blame
|Civility Initiative Resolutions Passed (by City)
|San Pablo *
|Civility Initiative Resolutions Passed
(by School District)
|CCCOE/Board of Education
|Liberty Union High School District
|John Swett Unified School District
|West Contra Costa Unified School District
|Pittsburg Unified School District
|Byron Union School District
|San Ramon Valley Unified School District
|Oakley Union Elementary School District
|Walnut Creek School District
|Antioch Unified School District
|Brentwood Union School District
|Mount Diablo Unified School District
|Knightsen Elementary School District
|Canyon Elementary School District
|Lafayette School District
|Moraga School District
|Martinez Unified School District*
|Orinda Union School District
|Acalanes Union High School District
|Contra Costa Council
|32nd District PTA
|Interview with Jim Caroompas; Martinez Patch.com
|Contra Costa County Supervisors
|Contra Costa Times, Tom Barnidge (columnist) "What a Quaint Notion—a Return to Civility"
|FECCC BTSA Induction Program~Liberty Union HSD/Todd Airola Far East Contra Costa BTSA Induction Coordinator
|Clayton Valley Charter High School*
|Contra Costa Local Planning Council for Child Care and Development (LPC)
|Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce
*Personal presentations made at city council meetings
The CCCOE gratefully acknowledges the Stanislaus County Office of Education for their work on this initiative.
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