How to Stop Yourself From Being Rude at Work

Updated 05/03/19
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Sometimes I feel like we live in a time where nobody cares about manners. An Uber driver doesn’t bother to get out of the car to help me put a suitcase in his trunk. My neighbors ignore me when I smile and say hello as I pass them on the way out of our apartment building. Even in the workplace, emails go unanswered and rudeness often is unchecked. According to Entrepreneur, bad etiquette is “a growing problem in the workplace that can lead to low performance, missed time, increased turnover, and difficulty in recruiting as a company earns the reputation of a negative work environment.” That’s why it’s more important than ever to be aware of your rudeness level at work.

Here’s how to check yourself before you wreck yourself by being an impolite person at the office.

  1. Remember your etiquette. Build positive relationships by practicing proper communications. “Foster an environment of respect and respectful interaction. Encourage your co-workers to praise, motivate and inspire each other instead of tearing each other down,” says Jacqueline Whitmore, the founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach.
  2. Monitor nonverbal messaging. Messages are delivered verbally as well as through tone, facial expressions, and body language. If you’re starting to have an issue with a co-worker, address it as soon as possible so you don’t inadvertently roll your eyes every time she says something annoying at the weekly meeting.
  1. Beware of miscommunication. “How you say something is just as important as what you say. Effective communication is not achieved until the message sent is clearly received,” explains Whitmore. Ask for clarification before things get lost in translation. Don't jump to conclusions or make accusations when something is miscommunicated.
  2. Read your messages before sending. Texts and emails can easily be misinterpreted simply because the reader cannot see the sender’s face or hear their tone. Deliver complete and clear messages instead of firing off short flippant replies. If the message starts to become too long or complicated, pick up the phone or set up a face-to-face meeting.
  1. Think before you speak or react. In order to not regret sending a mean email, slow down and consider how your words and nonverbal cues may be received. “Communication is a two-way street. Be sincere, ask meaningful questions, and give the other person a chance to share his or her opinions or ideas. If your communication is clear and genuine, others will be more apt to do business you,” says Whitmore.
  2. Don’t rely on technology. Yes, everyone has to send emails, but it’s wise to opt for a social interaction in certain cases. Electronic messages are all too easily misinterpreted, and they also don’t foster relationship building.

    To learn more about work etiquette, read Works Well With Others.

    Have you had a rude encounter at work recently? What happened?




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