Having a Rude ‘Tude Is Contagious
Smile and the world smiles with you, but what happens when someone you work with is rude? In a CNN article titled, Study: Workplace rudeness is like a virus, the author says that everyone is usually worried about catching a cold at work, yet they should be more concerned about catching a co-worker’s rudeness.
The article references a study from the University of Florida where they found that people who rated someone they worked with as rude were often thought to be rude themselves by a co-worker. What’s particularly troubling about the research is that it appears we have no control over how we react to rudeness. Our bodies react via an “automatic cognitive mechanism,” which means that it’s happening within the subconscious part of our brain.
Whether a person is the recipient of an insult, is intentionally not included in an activity, or has had information withheld from them, the rudeness leaves a solid impression that can affect how that person perceives future experiences. An example of this would be if you received an insult in the company lunchroom (e.g., you drink too much coffee), then just by entering the room later will trigger a response in you that may make you rude to someone else who has absolutely nothing to do with the original insult.
In the study referenced in the article, 98% of workers experienced rudeness at work and 50% said they experienced rudeness at least every week. While there isn’t much you can do about the automatic response to your subconscious, what you can do is make a conscious effort not to be rude, regardless of what is said or done to you. It’s also important to note how you say something to a co-worker and to be as clear in your message as possible. For example, saying “nice shoes” can be taken as a compliment or taken as sarcasm. It’s better to say, “those shoes are beautiful” so that it’s clear you mean to really compliment what the person is wearing.
By breaking the chain of rudeness, it can create a more positive work environment and potentially a better experience at work for your co-workers. Leave the rude attitude at home, or better yet, just don’t be rude at all.