How to Combat Rudeness in the Workplace

being rude, rude, Fun Team Building with Larry Lipman

Are you being rude?

Are you a toxic employee?


While most workplaces have policies in place to protect employees against sexual harassment, abuse and other problems in the workplace, smaller issues often go overlooked. These issues, such as everyday rudeness can cause serious damage if left unaddressed.


“Rudeness has an incredibly powerful negative effect on the workplace,” says Trevor Foulk, a doctoral student in management at the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business Administration, who led a recent study on the issue. “Most workers will go their entire careers without experiencing true aggression and violence in the workplace. But people experience rudeness all the time.”


So how do you deal with rude people? Here are 4 tips on how to combat rudeness in the workplace, and most importantly, stop it from spreading.


Don’t Lose Your Cool

When a co-worker is rude to you, it’s a natural instinct to be rude right back. If you lose your cool, you’ll just end up hurting your own image at work. Employees that fly off the handle are seen as unapproachable and irresponsible. Instead of flipping out, take a step back.


If it’s a rude email, close it and look at it later. If it’s a phone conversation, deal with it professionally and send your anger to the back seat. If it’s a face-to-face meeting, conduct yourself properly. Don’t lose it in front of the other employee. Vent later when you are at home or with friends. If you can’t handle the situation professionally, you will lose the respect of your co-workers.


Also, don’t take it personally. The rude employee may have had a rough day, or someone was just rude to them so they are taking it out on you. This may be a good opportunity to improve your communication skills. Talk to the employee – tell them they seem tense and see if they need a friend. Their behavior is probably more about a personal issue, not a problem with you.


Confront Only if Necessary

This tip is a bit tricky, as it depends on the situation you are in. If the rudeness includes name calling, infringement on personal space or personal abuse, by all means call that employee out. You owe that to yourself and your dignity. However, confronting an employee on their rude behavior may hand you a one-way ticket to their bad side. Consider the position of the rude employee; If it is a higher-up, such as a CEO or manager, it’s probably not wise to confront them. It may put you in a bad light or they may see you as a weak link. If it’s a subordinate or someone on the same level as you, it’s okay to bring the rudeness to their attention.


Personally, I tend to opt-out of the situation. If a person is rude to me for no reason, I ignore them and walk away. Even though this may make them even more angry, it’s better to step away than be verbally abused by another employee. I give the employee some time to cool off, then come back when they seem more like themselves.


Don’t Expect Rude Behavior to Change

Most rude people don’t even recognize their behavior. If this is the way they act every day and no one says anything, they may not realize they are being rude. Either way, you have to accept that you can’t change an employee’s behavior. If you think that one day then will have a sudden change of heart and quit their bad behavior, you will be sadly disappointed. Trying to be nicer to the employee won’t change them.


The only way to deal with the rudeness is to alter the way you interact with them. Don’t let them see that their rudeness affects you. Don’t attempt to be overly nice and don’t be hostile. Let them say what they need to say and move on.


Schedule a Team Building Day

A team building event is a great way to get employees back on the same page. Team building activities can help break down barriers, improve communication skills and increase employee motivation. The event will allow team members to work together, re-establish and build relationships and get along better in the workplace.


Let Fun Team Building Restore your Workplace

Larry Lipman of Fun Team Building, an Atlanta team building company, can create a custom day on how to combat rudeness in your workplace. Give Larry a call at 770-333-3303 to get started today!

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