Become an Insider           Login
Not an Insider Yet?

We no longer offer memberships.
Existing Insider Members may still login (right) and receive their benefits. Stay tuned for some major changes.

Reset Password - Forgot My Username

Remember me

Most Read Interviews

All TopShelf Interviews


What is one thing we should take away from this? That civility is a conscious awareness of the impact of one’s thoughts, actions, words and intentions on others. Dr. Lew Bayer expands our minds and opens our eyes to a whole new world of civility and how to practice it. 

You are releasing three new books on the topic of civility. (Manufacturing Civility, Civility at Work, Golden Rule Peace and Civility). What new information will your upcoming titles provide?

Manufacturing Civility is focused on civil communications in manufacturing workplaces- these can be tough environments, old-school leadership styles, and union, decades of traditional approach can clash with younger and more diverse employee teams- we help address these clashes. In Civility at Work- we update the research and tools/resources we covered in The 30% Solution- civility is a burgeoning field in terms of research so there is a lot of new information to share. Lastly, in Golden Rule Peace and Civility- we look at civil dialogue and global communications- how to navigate our increasingly connected world of business. 

What inspired your interest in civility and how has it flourished into a business?

I initially became interested in civility when I was working as Director of Catering for a hotel and guests would ask for help planning menus and events, about wedding etiquette, podium protocols, etc. I began studying etiquette and protocol and found it was a bigger concept than I thought, e.g., not just event planning or etiquette, not just professional polish or impression management, but also about social intelligence and culture and respect- all of these things combined make up civility. When I started out I had a business partner and we focused on social skills and etiquette for children but the demand and scope quickly grew and now I own the business on my own and focus on civility. 

How do you define civility?

A conscious awareness of the impact of one’s thoughts, actions, words and intentions on others. In combination with a continuous acknowledgement of one’s responsibility to ease the experience of others, and a consistent effort to adopt and exhibit civil behavior as a non-negotiable point of one’s character. 

Why is civility important?

Civility is critical to long term success in building lasting, trusting relationships in work and in life, in establishing a reputation for credibility and trust, and for navigating social change and cultural diversity. 

What are some common misconceptions about civility?

Many people think civility is just about manners or “Martha Stewart perfectionism” – in fact is it not about those things- standards and social rules are just one small part of civility. 

What is inside the pages of your book The 30% Solution?

The 30% Solution is a toolkit for civility at work. It addressed the business case for civility, definition, how to start a workplace civility initiative, and how to build competency in civility. 

Can you tell us about World Civility Day?

World Civility Day- to my knowledge was started in Gary, Indiana by a group of like-minded individuals who wanted to build civility in the community- now cities all around the world celebrate the day and organize training and speeches and awards related to civility. 

How have your thoughts on civility changed over the years? 

I have come to learn that civility is a values proposition, that it is part of who you are---your character---versus just something you do. And you can teach competency in civility. It can be learned. 

Has the pandemic affected your ability to reach out to others?

Certainly there is some value in teaching social skills “live” or face to face, but the pandemic has offered opportunity to explore other modes of communication, other aspects of life, e.g., stress management, empathy, collective care, consideration for how our behavior impacts others, positive communication, online communication etc. 

What is one of the most memorable stories/scenarios of civility that you will always carry with you?

At the height- or highest level, I believe civility is about grace and humility, it’s about forgiveness and humanity and resilience and so a story about a Rwandan woman who survived 90 days in a bathroom and taught herself French while in hiding- and then forgave those who murdered her entire family after the fact …that is a civility story, I never get tired of hearing or sharing. 

So it’s not just about the Martha Stewart perfectionism, it is about grace, humility, modes of communication and forgiveness not only to oneself, but others. Sharing and caring about others out there not only impacts us, but impacts those around us. Dr. Bayer is definitely one to watch out for when it comes to her sharing her knowledge and expertise.