sticking-out-tongue“Rudeness at work is rampant, and it’s on the rise.”  And apparently 98% of people have reported experiencing rude behavior at work…. 50% said they encountered rudeness at least once a week.

In an HBR article this month, The Price of Incivility, the authors make a strong case for how rudeness not only hurts morale but also the bottom line.  I have a hunch none of us are particularly surprised by this but I also suspect that far less than 98% would think they themselves are an offender

My fascination lies within the self-awareness of rudeness but before I expand on that I want to share a few poignant tidbits from the article.

In the face of rudeness, regardless of the offender…

    • 48% decrease their work effort
    • 47% decrease their time spent at work
    • 38% decrease the quality of their work
    • 80% lose time thinking about it
    • 63% lost work time avoiding the offender
    • 66% said their performance declined
    • 78% said their commitment declined
    • 12% said they left their job (not good, but also not good that the other 78% stick around and erode the bottom line)
    • 25% admit to taking their frustrations out on customers!
    • Managers in Fortune 1000 firms spend 7 weeks a year dealing with the aftermath of rudeness

But the fact of the matter is, if you lack the self-awareness to acknowledge incivility then you would believe that these stats are for everyone else and I would wager that perspective reflects the majority of people and companies.  Less so as a result of ignorance, and more so as a result of normalization.  Where rudeness has become the status quo and is within the DNA of the culture of a firm.

Rudeness is often harsh but it can also be very subtle; simply not listening is rude… or talking too much, and all forms of rudeness have costly outcomes.  I would like to propose that everyone simply assume that rudeness is a problem in their organization.  This really needs to be a call to action broadly and needs to be tackled with vigor and monitored incessantly on an ongoing basis.

Rudeness is only one of many expensive outcomes resulting from a lack of self-awareness.  What I really want to advocate is investing in heightened self-awareness both individually and across your firm, you simply cannot afford not too.

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