Workplace Rights

Weekly (5/21/12)

Topic of the Week  Rude Dudes

Rude Dudes: Executive Summary:

  • Listen to feedback.
  • Pay attention to the grapevine.
  • Ask for opinions.
  • Do your own evaluations. 


Rude Dudes: Creating Better Manners at Work
Lean and mean isn't just a slogan for most of us, unfortunately, for far too many it describes our workplace. Few of us get paid enough at work to deal with abuse, grief and punishment. Which reminds me of the New York Athletic Club. Its members include Olympic champions and many well-heeled patrons who pay thousands of dollars to join. However, according to witnesses, recently there were fighting "wolf packs" in a "lion's pit" that resulted in two people being sent to the hospital and three arrests. The brawl appeared to be over a woman.

Okay, maybe your workplace isn't that rude, but chances are that you have to battle through difficult coworkers, customers and vendors during your day. According to a poll by Monster, the most annoying behaviors at work include: Gossiping, 35%. Messy coworkers, 25%. Loud coworkers, 14%. And texting in meetings, 10%. Texting in meetings, many of you are probably texting as you read this article. It's easy to point fingers at others, but is there anything you can do if you discover that you're the rude person? Yep, you could be part of the problem here. That's why I've included four strategies to help you figure out if it's time for you to go to charm school.

Listen to feedback. Have you ever tried to tell a friend at work some difficult news? What happened? You get denial with a capital "D." Their arms cross, they look away and you might as well be talking to a wall. Avoid this fate by actually listening to negative feedback. Remember you don't need to agree with everything that you hear, but it's wise to at least hear out the criticism.

Pay attention to the grapevine. Office rumors can be wildly inaccurate. But they can also give you a sense of what people really think of you. Listen for the kernel of truth about you generated by the office rumor mill. And there usually is a kernel of truth.

Ask for opinions. "Do I speak up too much?" "Do I ever push your buttons?" "Have I been a jerk at work?" Those are three great questions to ask the people you work with. Silence isn't golden at work when it comes to manners. Solicit feedback about your performance on a regular basis even if it is tough to hear.

Do your own evaluations. Survey Monkey just one easy, and free way, to do your own anonymous survey of your colleagues, customers and vendors. It may sound crazy, but the sooner you hear about problems that you may be causing, the sooner you can work to get back in everyone's good graces.

Eight, nine or ten hours a day is more time than you should spend with your family or friends. So it shouldn't be a surprise that we can occasionally rub people at work the wrong way. If you really want to create a better workplace, the journey needs to start with learning about, and addressing, whatever probems you may be causing.

Bob Rosner is an award winning journalist and best selling author of the "Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question or comment, please email him via

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"I have a rude thought every three seconds!"

–Lee Ryan

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