98% cite rudeness at work
Are employers responsible for civility — and can they really enforce it?
As the state of the economy leaves fewer employees doing more work for less money, with a reduction in resources to boot, the prevalence of rudeness in the workplace appears to be on the rise. Findings from an ongoing study indicate that a full 98 percent of workers report experiences of uncivil behavior at work.
Two researchers from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business have been studying the impact of growing incivility in the workplace for 15 years and have surveyed thousands of people. With a long-term window on workplace histories, they’ve tracked a downward spiral of decency and friendliness. Back in 1998, for example, a quarter of all surveyed subjects said they were treated rudely at least once a week; in 2011, half of all workers lodged the same complaint.
Workplace rudeness is rampant today, say professors Christine Porath and Christine Pearson, and takes all shapes. It’s the boss who belittles his employees’ efforts and blames them for poor results. It’s the foul-mouthed oaf spoiling lunch hour, and the surly assistant with an acid tongue. It’s evident in passive-aggressive emails and in water-cooler snubs.
MSN Living: 10 phrases to avoid at work
Porath and Pearson conclude that incivility hurts not only feelings, but productivity and ultimately the organization’s bottom line.
“We know two things for certain,” the researchers write. “Incivility is expensive, and few organizations recognize or take action to curtail it.”
Among their findings:
• 47 percent of workers on the receiving end of incivility intentionally decreased the time spent at work, and 38 percent intentionally decreased quality
• 63 percent lost work time avoiding the offender
• 78 percent said their commitment to the organization declined
• 25 percent admitted taking their frustration out on customers.
Is civility the responsibility of an employer — and if so, can managers or a human resource department really enforce it?
In an attempt to reverse rudeness trends, some companies are adding new guidelines to employee manuals. Citing the work of the Georgetown researchers, The Wall Street Journal posted 10 tips for keeping the peace at work — several of which read like rules for a kindergarten class. While it certainly seems childish, some colleagues need to work on fundamental interpersonal skills, starting with the Golden Rule. Tips include:
• In the presence of co-workers practice the 10/5 rule: Within 10 feet, acknowledge the person, and within five feet say hello.
• Instead of pointing the finger when you’ve contributed to a mistake, take responsibility — especially if you’re the leader.
• Don’t criticize people behind their backs. Never say or write anything you wouldn’t be proud to sign.
• When someone is talking to you, pay attention and listen fully; don’t half tune in or fidget with your gadget.
• Address performance or other issues in private.
• Never cut off or finish someone’s sentences (even to make a point or decision); instead, be patient and listen fully before jumping in.
• Be careful taking too much credit for collaborative work; share recognition for work well done.
When salespeople dressed appropriately for their positions they were respected. I have seen gum chewing, poor grammar, from the most well dressed staff people and some of the greatest adult behavior in the younger set that wanted to actually help an older person
I don't envy anyone today that has to deal with the rude, obnoxious public who, if anyone, is really happy dealing with animals??. Customers are definitely on the ignorant side and they act the way they were brought up, on the street! This is no help to the clerk and lord forbid she/he should say the wrong word. We saw what they tried to do to Paula Dean. It is an evil society that you retailers have to work with and I envy no one in a retail position today. Glitz and greed are the only things the customer knows today and they show their ignorance in their "costumes" and "get-ups" that they think attractive. It's slutsville all the way1
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