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.