By Arnold Sanow, CSP, MBA
Rude behavior, and failing to demonstrate concern and regard for others, is a
problem for many organizations. It hurts productivity, job commitment, job
retention, and the health and well-being of employees. Researchers studying
workplace aggression and rudeness are finding its frequency is increasing
and taking a toll on employees. Based on information from his book,
“Get Along with Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere … 8 keys to creating
enduring connections with customers, co-workers … even kids by Arnold
Sanow and Sandy Strauss, Nautilus Communications, 2004
here are a few examples:
· A University of North Carolina study surveyed 1,400 workers and
revealed that both men and women equally reported being targets of
discourteous and insensitive behavior. The majority of the instigators
were men, and they were three times more likely to be of higher rank
than their targets. Based on the survey, here are the results
– 52 percent said they lost work time worrying about the incidents of
– 46 percent considered changing jobs (12 percent actually did quit)
– 37 percent reported that they felt less committed to their company
– 22 percent deliberately cut back their efforts
· Research from the University of Michigan revealed that 71 percent of
1,100 workers had experienced condescending remarks or other rude
behavior at work during a five-year period.
· In another University of North Carolina study, 1,601 respondents
were asked whether they believed rudeness, backstabbing, poor
communication, and incivility existed in the workplace. 89% said
“yes”. The same group was asked whether they themselves were
uncivil, rude, negative or talked behind others’ backs: 99% said “no”
Obviously, this shows how people disconnect their own negative
behavior as compared to others. Either people don’t acknowledge or
admit their negative communication or they are clueless.
As encounters with uncivil behavior rises, so do symptoms of anxiety
and depression; those who don’t do or say anything about their
mistreatment have the worst mental health. Two out of three workers
who “resisted” demeaning treatment experienced retaliation, either
work-related (given less favorable duties, denied promotions) or
If you serve in a leadership position, emphasize the need for respect
and courtesy in all communications with colleagues and customers.
Establish written policies against abuse and enforce them, letting
employees know that disrespectful behavior of any type will not be
tolerated. Avoid speaking disparagingly to staff, which sets a
standard of acceptable behavior for lower level supervisors to imitate.
Above all model respectful behavior in all your interactions to show
employees that extending respect is always a priority.
Our Associate, Arnold Sanow, MBA, CSP is a speaker, seminar leader and author of
5 books to include, “Get Along with Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere .. 8
keys to creating enduring connections with customers, co-workers –
To reach him call (301) 946-8208 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in more information on how to aupervise people? Click here.