What to Do about Rudeness in the Workplace?

The last two blog postings and this one final posting focus on rudeness in the workplace. Most workplace rudeness stops short of forbidden behavior, but it’s still annoying. How can it be stopped? We need to establish a standard of civil conduct by setting an example to enforce good manners. One point is for sure: avoidance isn’t the solution.

            The best approach is always to apply everyday courage by confronting the issue and expressing your concerns in terms of how it affects your work. Many people don’t know they are being rude, so keeping your boundaries is critical when dealing with rude behavior. What I observe as I conduct train­ing programs in both public and private sectors is that most folks need to learn new ways to communicate and interact. Learning to communicate directly with each other without doing permanent damage to the relationship is one of the first steps. I call these “courageous conversations.”

For example, a simple and powerful word in linguistics is “request,” such as “I request you replace my Kleenex® box when you’re done, etc.” The word “request” doesn’t offend or demand that the other person do something—it leaves the person with a choice about how they want to respond, yet you’ve spoken up.

            For someone to be successful, general standards of behaviors and manners are critical. How are yours?


  • Begin to notice your reaction to blatant rudeness, and start setting an example of respectful behavior in your workplace.
  • Begin to set boundaries for yourself; make requests to individuals to “please” respect your business acumen at work.
  • Begin to discuss in your department or organization the professional demeanor that’s expected, and start stamping out those that aren’t acceptable. You’ll begin to notice how the morale shifts—respectful behavior is catching.
  • Avoidance is not the solution! Keep your boundaries—no one deserves to be treated rudely.
  • And remember, it takes courage to change one’s behavior and then hold yourself accountable.


I would love for you to share your courage comments by posting them below.

Sandra Ford Walston is known as The Courage Expert and innovator of StuckThinking™. She is an organizational effectiveness consultant, speaker, internationally published author of bestseller COURAGE, trainer and courage coach. She is certified in the Enneagram and MBTI®. Please visit www.sandrawalston.com.

Sandra Ford Walston, The Courage Expert

Innovator, StuckThinking™

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