Well, I managed to hit the concrete for a few miles early this a.m. Hey, it’s not the Cleveland Marathon — but at least I was moving forward. And I even managed to avoid the rain that most likely will be with us for most of the day in NE Ohio.
I enjoy running outside. I appreciate the solitude and the time alone it gives me to think about things. It’s a totally different experience — call it forced exercise? — for me on the treadmill or on the elliptical trainer.
Today I was thinking about civility — and how rude and inconsiderate we are to others often without even knowing it or thinking about it.
I attended a meeting Inside the Beltway last week. And the majority — including me — spent considerable time tethered to a BlackBerry: texting, reading messages, mentally figuring out whether missed phone messages were important or not. That’s a shame on a lot of levels. But it’s also rude. Do we really have to be connected — and available — these days 24/7?
And I’m not the only one thinking about this. Here’s from Christine Pearson, a professor of international business at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Phoenix, writing in the “Preoccupations” column in the Sunday NYT, “Sending a Message That You Don’t Care“:
For more than a decade, my colleagues and I have gathered data on incivility from more than 9,000 managers and workers across the United States, and we’re continuing this work internationally. We have learned a great deal about the problem’s causes and consequences.
I define incivility as behavior, seemingly inconsequential to the doer, that others perceive as inconsiderate. Electronic devices lead to more incivility because of their powerful ability to claim our attention — no matter where we are or what we’re doing. No one likes to be snubbed, of course, but the offense can take on a new edge when the winner is a machine.
Some younger employees may not be as concerned, as they’re already more likely to communicate electronically. Indeed, if everyone is texting at once, it may seem like “no harm, no foul.”
Chances are, however, that if you ignore your colleagues while jabbering on your cellphone, keep others waiting for an appointment while you check your e-mail or send something electronically that should be delivered in person, some people will see you as inconsiderate.
Yeah. Inconsiderate — and rude.