“Incivility is expensive. Office rudeness hurts productivity, and sales person rudeness alienates customers” Harvard Business review 2013

Periods of change or challenge in the workplace and/or a person’s home life often put people under pressure. This pressure can manifest in a variety of ways and potentially the most obvious being how we interact with other people.

There is an old saying that says, “hurting people, hurt people” and throughout the day there may be a variety of different occasions that lead people to lash out, be rude, bully and/or disrespect other people’s space, views and/or work quality.

As mentioned in the article by the Harvard Business Review this rudeness is costing our business’s money and therefore it’s becoming not just a HR issue but a company wide problem.

A poor experience with a rude sales attendant can result in the customer telling on average 17 other people about the poor experience they had, and with social media that figure can soar into the hundreds instantly. Companies are spending enormous money on branding and PR to only have this potentially destroyed by the part of their brand and PR they can’t control and that’s the behaviour of its employees to the people who matter, the customers.

So how can we better address rudeness in the workplace?

  1. Leaders need to be effective at asking curious questions. Ask the questions which get the answers you may not want to hear.
  2. Have an environment that promotes healthy venting – teach your people the appropriate way of dealing with workplace frustrations. For example. Which issues should be dealt with on a peer to peer level and which should be dealt with through consultation with a leader.
  3. Promote honesty and transparency by creating a culture that rewards and recognises vulnerability.
  4. Keep people engaged and focused on meaningful tasks – “It’s often the person who isn’t rowing, who has the time to rock the boat”.
  5. Teach your people the ability to perform at their best despite what personal & professional setbacks they may be facing.
  6. If rudeness is the symptom, then discover what’s the issue behind it. Be careful to look deeper before judging a workmate as ‘rude’. Call the behaviour, however also investigate why they are hurting?
  7. For people who are consistently rude and have no desire to change their ways, use the ‘Organisational Values’ as a starting place for performance managing. “How do you think that behaviour is helping to execute our Values?”
  8. Good manners and etiquette should always be encouraged, rewarded and recognised.
  9. If it’s your boss or leader above you who is rude, you may need to consider exactly how far you are prepared to compromise and when is enough, enough.  Title or position should never be an excuse for rudeness!

To read the full article quoted above in Harvard Business Review click here