An essential building block of civility is leaders’ ability to demonstrate empathy for the experience and perspective of others within the school community.
“Being aware of others is where civility begins,” P. M. Forni writes in The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude. “To be fully aware of them, we must weave empathy into the fabric of our connection. . . . The empathy of strangers is good for us not just because it makes us feel better about ourselves and about life, but also because it encourages us to be better persons. Empathy is wonderfully contagious.”
In my experience, leaders’ lack of empathy is a leading cause of interpersonal problems in the workplace, which, in turn, undermines a school community’s ability to achieve it’s most important goals.