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Rude behavior in workplace must be nipped in bud

The Gainesville Sun logo The Gainesville Sun 6/20/2021 The Gainesville Sun
a person wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Gainesville Fl. 101508: Eva Del Rio mug for HR column. © Eva Del Rio Gainesville Fl. 101508: Eva Del Rio mug for HR column.

Q: Last week you wrote about how some people no longer seem embarrassed to be rude or make a scene in public and how that may be seeping into the workplace. I’ve noticed this at my work, whether it’s having to wear a mask, some other routine inconvenience or just general disagreement about something; it seems like being rude has become the default for some people. They are not breaching any policy per se, but as a manager, I worry about what this is going to do to morale and our workplace environment. Any suggestions?

A: I don’t think any kind of incivility should be tolerated in the workplace.

As management, you don’t have to wait until someone actually breaches a policy to address troubling behavior or actions. Some people will test the limits to see what they can get away with. And the sooner you set clear boundaries, the better. The conversation should be handled very specifically by focusing on actual behavior. For example, instead of saying “You are being rude and it’s a problem that can’t continue,” you can say: “You are glaring and raising your voice at coworkers and that’s a problem that can’t continue.”

More disturbing than simply worrying about what such behavior can do to morale — and another reason to not tolerate it — is that those behaviors can be a precursor to violence.

If you were to look up “workplace violence warning signs,” they will include, among others:

· Pushing the limits of acceptable conduct

· Disrespect for authority

· Swearing or emotional language

· Making inappropriate statements

· Blaming others for mistakes

· Complaints of unfair personal treatment

· Misinterpretation of communications from supervisors or co-workers

· Holding grudges, especially against his or her supervisor

If you don’t already have one, I encourage you to adopt and implement a “zero tolerance” workplace violence policy that prohibits any threats or intimidation. The policy is a good avenue to educate everyone on what is and isn’t acceptable workplace behavior.

As an employer you have a responsibility to provide a healthy and safe work environment. Allowing some people to be rude without consequences is neither healthy or safe.

Find more info here: www.osha.gov/workplace-violence.

Send questions to eva@evadelrio.

This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Rude behavior in workplace must be nipped in bud

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