What is going on?

In two weeks, I am doing a workshop for a local manufacturing company. Over the last three years, I have created and facilitated several workshops for them, having worked with their leadership team, sales teams and middle managers. What took me aback is the subject of this next workshop: dealing with difficult clients and colleagues. Apparently the team is worn out, some feel demoralized by their customer’s bad behavior including being yelled at.

Then on Monday, the subject of one of the daily emails I read regularly was about rudeness, sharing tactics to address colleagues and clients who are rude. And last Friday, a client shared with me a video she took during a team meeting where half her staff was on the phone clicking away and the other half looked completely disengaged.

What is going on?

Don’t ever forget that you’re a citizen of this world, and there are things you can do to lift the human spirit, things that are easy, things that are free, things that you can do every day: civility, respect, kindness, character.

Aaron Sorkin, playwright

Worth the Share

While it has always existed in some way, rudeness and bad behavior is so prevalent in our society today that it is being addressed in companies across the country and around the globe. In our personal lives, we have all seen when people behave badly in a public space. We may be aware of how we treat others when we are stressed out and behaved badly ourselves.

It seems to be at such a fever pitch that Harvard Business Review just released a complete series of seven articles entitled Incivility on the Front Lines of Business.

One article from the series is Frontline Work When Everyone Is Angry, which is written by a researcher who studies incivility at work. The author, Christine Porath, did a survey of 2000 workers in 25 industries around the globe and found that 76% have experienced incivility at least once a month, and 78% believe that bad behavior from customers toward employees is more common than it was five years ago. She cites causes which include increased stress, negative emotions, weakened ties to others and technology. The article contains a lot more research.

Another article in the series, How to Respond to a Rude Comment at Work provides solid tactics that are useful, including that you check your emotions first. Why did that rude comment strike a cord in you? Think about the risks of speaking up about the bad behavior, or not. What is your best path forward in that specific situation? Asking questions, showing empathy and forming alliances with colleagues to support each other when rudeness happens are all tactics to try.

Read on to learn more.

And Finally...

On November 5, 1963, President John F. Kennedy stated, “Over three centuries ago, our forefathers in Virginia and in Massachusetts, far from home in a lonely wilderness, set aside a time of thanksgiving. On the appointed day, they gave reverent thanks for their safety, for the health of their children, for the fertility of their fields, for the love which bound them together, and for the faith which united them with their God.”*

As we celebrate Thanksgiving in 2022, maybe think about what we can each do to make our world a kinder, gentler place, working to limit our stress and use of technology while building deeper connections with other people. I like to say “lead with love”.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving,

Mary Jo

*Proclamation 3560, in Wikipedia
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