Turning the Tide on Rudeness

By John Kyle

Common courtesy is increasingly uncommon. Workplace incivility can result in lower productivity, higher turnover, and absenteeism. It can spread beyond the office and into customer relationships.

Rudeness at Work

What does rudeness look like in the workplace? It can range from subtle things like eye rolling to outrageous things like berating a colleague in a meeting.

Here are some common examples:
• Gossiping and talking behind someone’s back.
• Interrupting someone when they are speaking.
• Excluding colleagues from projects or meetings even though they should, by role and responsibilities, be included.
• Being late for meetings or in other ways not respecting someone else’s time.
• Speaking to people in a condescending way.

Paul’s Call to be Courteous

Based on Paul’s description of love in 1 Corinthians 13:5, we know that love is not rude.

In his letter to Titus, Paul explains how we are to treat one another by telling church leaders to model considerate behavior: “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” (Titus 3:1-2) Paul connects our readiness for good work with being gentle and showing courtesy toward all people.

Overcoming Rudeness in the Workplace

The following ideas can help to establish civility and courtesy in the workplace:

“There are no ordinary people; You have never talked to a mere mortal.” This great statement by C.S. Lewis is a reminder that all humans are made in the image of God. The dignity of each person is the core motivation for honoring and respecting our colleagues.
Listen, think, then speak. Rather than reacting quickly, Paul calls us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. This helps us to think through constructive and encouraging contributions that can defuse inflammatory situations.
Be courageous and defend the honor of others. If you have habitually rude people in your workplace, gently confront them. Don’t let bullies establish the dominant culture of your workplace. The goal is not to bully the bullies, but to restore them to healthy relationships in the office.

Ultimately, Jesus showed us how to love. He lived a life on earth marked by intentional words and deeds so that others might flourish. We can’t love perfectly as he did, but we can follow him and learn from his example.

This article has been adapted with permission from the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics. View the original article at (https://tifwe.org/rudeness-in-the-workplace/) Subscribe to the IFWE Daily Blog at https://tifwe.org/subscribe.

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