Posts Tagged ‘kind’

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Practice Civility

Civility. noun – formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech.

Some of us think of it more in the terms of good manners. Children must be taught good manners and see it practiced by their role models.

As you become a manager and then a partner in your firm, if you want to be viewed as an inspiring leader, you better be practicing civility.

There is solid research behind this. This is from Christine Porath via HBR:

“For the last 20 years, I’ve studied the costs of incivility, as well as the benefits of civility. Across the board, I’ve found that civility pays. it enhances your influence and performance and is positively associated with being perceived as a leader.”

Leaders need to demonstrate respect. According to recent studies, being treated with respect was more important to employees than recognition, appreciation, inspiring visions or even learning opportunities.

I do upward survey services for CPA firm partners and managers. I often find that partner groups are hesitant to hear what their employees actually think. Maybe I shouldn’t say hesitant. I should say scared. They want to manipulate the questions, and make multiple types of other modifications to the surveys. One firm administrator told me, “We will never do an upward survey. The partners don’t want to hear what the staff thinks of them.” Maybe this partner group isn’t practicing civility and I am sure that most baby boomers were taught good manners as a child!

In actuality, I find that the results of upward surveys in CPA firms are honest, insightful, and contain very helpful suggestions. They are not vicious or vindictive. The replies are civil. (Qualifier: Unless you have one of those “loose cannon” type partners who actually needs to hear the truth and the other partners are afraid to tell him/her.

0 Avatar slide for blogWant to read more? Here are some of my other posts on this topic:

2009 – The Power of Civility

2011 – Make Your Clients & Your People Feel Special

2014 – Be Honest, Are You Really Different?

You know my motto: I’d rather be kind.

(See quote below… I was actually a kindergarten teacher’s aide at one point years ago.)


  • Play fair. Don't hit people. Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
  • Robert Fulghum, author-All I Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Look For The Helpers

As we enter into this last week-end of the year, perhaps you – like me – take time to reflect on the past year and on things that have much more meaning than the day-to-day drama (or comedy) that plays out inside your accounting firm.

After the sad events in Newtown this month, many people were searching for a way to talk about such tragedies with children. A group called 170 Million for Public Broadcasting posted the following words from a voice that many Americans grew-up with, Fred Rogers:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers–so many caring people in the world.

 Watch the following one minute video on talking to children about tragic events in the news.

Now, think about your work life. What a great lesson you can take from Mr. Rogers and actually become “a helper” inside your firm. It seems we always have those, often very successful individuals inside the firm, who seem to fit the title “taker” rather than “helper.”

In 2013, cultivate, educate and reward more helpers. Develop an environment where your valued team members – young ones and more experienced ones – are comfortable talking about issues – any issues.

Part of the communication puzzle inside your CPA firm is the fact that your people watch the partners – all the partners. They make assumptions about their actions and comments. Those assumptions might be completely wrong. In 2013, develop ways to make it easy for your people to ask questions and obtain answers.

When an issue, concern, or rumor arises, address it immediately. As Mr. Rogers advises, “Ask what they know about it. Their fantasies are often far from the actual truth.”

  • There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.
  • Fred Rogers