Sadly, I often hear from people in distress from co-workers who undermine each other. It seems workplace rudeness and disrespect are on the rise.
Demonstrating personal and professional respect is a fundamental expectation for any workplace. Leaders need to e diligent and promoting workplace cultures of respect.
At the risk of this blog post sounding like “everything you learned in kindergarten” basics, it’s important we revisit the value of workplace courtesy and respect.
We are all human beings with feelings and are at risk for being hurt. There are also serious consequences for treating a co-worker with disrespect.
Bad behavior has derailed many careers, and in extreme cases has resulted in legal action-and worse.
A common reason good people leave good jobs is because of disrespectful co-workers or bosses.
Professional and respectful Do’s
- Follow the golden workplace rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
- Be considerate of your co-workers’ personal space (never assume touching someone else is welcome) and time. Workplace cubicles make this ultra important. The lack of privacy is compounded when others treat your workspace like their own.
- Pay attention to your impact (i.e., how your loud booming voice or annoying cell phone ringtone carries into the next cubicle).
- Treat others with respect (remember that, culturally, respect means different things to different people). Use “please” and “thank you” regularly (again, what you learned in kindergarten!)
- Think before you speak. Ask yourself, could this possibly offend someone?
- Listen well. Give co-workers the benefit of the doubt, even if you prejudge them as off. Be curious about how they came to their conclusions (you might discover the idea is more on the mark than you previously judged). If you are always suspicious, overly judgmental and/or a micromanager, consider what you are communicating to others.
- Watch your language. Stressful situations can get worse with profanity, finger-pointing or loaded words such as “rude,” “unprofessional,” “untrustworthy,” “unethical” or “uncaring.” Instead, use neutral, descriptive words such as “loud” or “abrupt.”
- Tell co-workers when their behaviors negatively affect you. “I am offended when I hear you using that word. I would like you to stop using it with me.”
- Recognize that being passive aggressive or condescending to co-workers (including snide remarks or sneers) is simply bad form and unprofessional.
- Don’t confuse (or excuse) being informal or in a hurry with being rude. We all have busy schedules. It’s no excuse for impolite words or behaviors.
- Don’t stereotype or profile co-workers — instantly sizing them up and developing assumptions about them. Don’t give co-workers private nicknames. Differences exist. As human beings, we all create stories about what we believe is true about “others.” We are often wrong.
- Don’t gossip about or undermine co-workers. It was nasty behavior in junior high, and guess what — it still is. (It often says more about the person gossiping than the person being bad-mouthed.) When I hear people bad-mouthing someone else, I wonder what they say about me behind my back and I lose respect for them. Try responding with, “Oh, really?” then change the subject or get back to work. If you don’t respond, gossipers move on.
- Don’t be the company complainer. It can and will alienate your colleagues. The only good reason to bring up negative issues is to create a plan for resolving them.
- Don’t assume; instead, try expressing empathy vs. judgment. Notice when someone looks tired, unhappy or stressed. Express concern instead of judgments, such as, “What a slacker.”
Managers: Don’t tolerate bad behavior. Bring the behavior to the offender’s attention, document it and develop a plan for the employee to fix it. (Getting them professional help is often less expensive than attorney’s fees or headhunters.)
None of this is rocket science, but being aware of your behaviors and their effect on co-workers is important.
COMMON PET PEEVES
1. Being condescended to, 44 percent
2. Being reprimanded publicly, 37 percent
3. Micromanaging, 34 percent
4. Loud talkers, 32 percent
5. Cell phones ringing, 30 percent
Source: Fast Company
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