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Is Rudeness in the Workplace on the Rise?

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Rudeness in the Workplace

How Rude!

It has been proven that stress from disrespect and bullying can cause a decrease in performance and cognitive abilities. In fact, many people quit their jobs due to an uncivil workplace. Some studies estimate the financial costs of bullying and rudeness in the workplace to be more than $200 billion per year.

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago reports that 74% of Americans think manners and behavior have declined in the United States, and we tend to agree. Is rudeness in the workplace on the rise as well?

Is rudeness a matter of perception? Do people act in a way that some think is rude, but others find acceptable? Are the economy and politics to blame? Is it technology? In this blog, we discuss our thoughts on the possible rise of rudeness in the workplace. We invite you to share your thoughts on this sensitive topic, too.

We Are All Self-Seeking

People are ultimately only looking out for themselves, particularly in the workplace. Self-preservation is human nature. However, many people are selfish to the point of being rude. We all have bad days, but that is never an excuse to treat others poorly. Everyone is going through something at some point in their lives, but we have a choice when it comes to how it affects our attitude. We can choose to be civil with one another.

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We No Longer Agree to Disagree

People do not listen to understand each other anymore. Someone always has to be right or wrong. Instead, we need to be willing to broaden our horizons, entertain different points of view, and be more humble. Fear and ignorance often lead to arrogance and close mindedness. As a culture, we are so easily offended – everything is deemed sexist, racist, or derogatory.

Technology Divides Us

In an effort to unite us, technology has done more to divide our culture. Our interactions have become less human. We have been isolating ourselves as a society. Misunderstandings are more common with so much communication through texting, especially in a working environment. Cyber-bullying has become more prevalent. People feel more comfortable and detached behind the screen. Some people find enjoyment from “trolling” others and stirring the pot. They get a kick out of creating controversy.

Closeness with Employees

As we get to know our colleagues on a more intimate level, we naturally become more comfortable around them. While this is in many ways positive, it also means we are more likely to get on each other’s nerves. Teasing, joking, and sarcasm can quickly take a turn to being offensive. We can also know too much about each other. Social media allows us to see how our coworkers live and spend their money. It can create jealousy and competition among employees.

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Economy & Politics

Without getting too involved, since politics and the office do not mix, it is clear that the economy is having an effect on rudeness in the workplace. Anxiety from rising costs, slowly increasing pay rates, and political upheaval have people on edge. Political parties have become more polarized and we as a country are more divided than ever. There is an increase in fake news and unverified information, which leads to confusion and displaced anger.

Breaking the Cycle

Treating each other with respect should be a given, but unfortunately it isn’t. Behavior is learned early and usually passed down through generations. Often people are rude, because they themselves have been treated poorly in the past. Just because someone is rude to you doesn’t mean you have to be rude back. Verbal aggression, put-downs, condescending comments, and physical violence have no place in the office. Break the cycle – change your energy. Kill them with kindness. In the workplace, you must lead by example and others will follow suit. Kindness, just like rudeness, is contagious.


For more blogs like this one or for more information regarding our employment agency, please visit the website. We also love connecting with our clients and candidates on social media, so be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram. We look forward to sharing with you. Stay kind!

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