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The Impact of Bad Behavior in the Workplace

June 22, 2015
Plain English Version
work behavior

Bad behavior on the ball field.

What is the effect of mean and uncivil behavior at work? It should come as no surprise that such behavior affects health and job performance. It is a surprise that studies find that it is becoming more common.

An expert says that stress caused by rudeness can account for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, ulcers, and obesity.

The important issues are how bosses treat workers and how workers deal with each other. On almost every score, uncivil behavior results in poorer outcomes in the workplace. Workers tend to stop coming up with new ideas when they feel rejected or belittled. They work less hard. They are less efficient at their tasks.

What can be done about this? Small changes can make a big difference. Listening, focusing on the person talking to you, smiling and taking notes all will contribute to a feeling of satisfaction at work.

Studies find that customers and even juries, respond better to good behavior.

Bad behavior at the workplace is sometimes mistaken for strength and leadership. Good people are sometimes regarded as weak. Politeness is sometimes mistaken for incompetence.

An expert said, “People feel valued and powerful when they are respected. Civility lifts people. Incivility holds people down. It makes them feel small.”

Sometimes people will make excuses for their bad behavior. They say, “That is the way I was taught.”

Smart phones and the like sometimes can also play a role. It is rude to be looking at a text in a meeting. Some companies are telling workers to put their phones away when attending meetings. They find meetings are now much more productive.

There is very little upside to bad behavior at work. It is not clear why such actions are increasing.

Source: The New York Times June 19, 2015

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