Germs can run rampant in a workplace, but so can another problem. Researchers at the University of Florida, presenting their findings in the “Journal of Psychology,” say that rudeness can be contagious.
The researchers followed 90 graduate business students as they practiced negotiation techniques over seven weeks, switching partners several times. Students who described a partner as rude were more likely to be considered rude themselves by subsequent partners more often than those who negotiated with people they felt were polite. The researchers theorize that this suggests that experiencing rudeness may make people more inclined to engage in it themselves.
Do your best to stay polite and courteous all the times, and you may be able to stop an epidemic in your organization.
Workplace rudeness can be a serious problem. It can bring down morale and lead to lost productivity. Rudeness doesn’t just affect work; it can lead to lost customers.
A study by the University of North Carolina (UNC) shows that 94 percent of the 775 people surveyed told someone else about their encounters with rude co-workers. Those “someone elses” included peers, supervisors and even people they managed.
What kind of encounters caused such loss in productivity? A few examples of rude behavior included: nasty and demeaning notes, accusations about lacking knowledge, name-calling and challenging credibility in front of others.
The study concluded that employees spent more time disgruntled or worrying about the rude person and less time concentrating on their work. These stats from the UNC survey support that conclusion:
This is why it is essential to squash rude behavior the minute it rears its ugly head. Granted, the workplace is not always the easiest place in the world to get along with others. However, it is important to feel respected by others in the workplace. This kind of healthy atmosphere almost always will increase productivity.
Here are some tips from the Mayo Clinic on how to deal with a co-worker who is rude to you:
And speaking of supervisors, a study by the University of Florida found that even the best employees can become negative at work if they think their bosses have treated them with rudeness or are mean-spirited. That means gossiping, pilfering, backstabbing and long lunch breaks can become the norm.
Managers have to set the tone, starting with the way they treat employees. Management training needs to include an emphasis on treating employees with respect and refusing to accept rude behavior in the workplace.
Want to boil it down to a simple phrase? Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
Mackay’s Moral: Common courtesy should never be an uncommon practice.
Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.
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