Proud to Be Polite


For many of us, socially unacceptable behaviors began developing as a child. How many times did we complain to our parents about how rude our siblings or friends were? “Why do I have to apologize, she started it?” “He gets away with everything.” I can still hear my parents asking, “Who did this or that?” “You knew you were not allowed to do that, WHY did you do it? Nowadays my wife and I have been asking similar questions to our 12 year boy and girl twins and 9 year old daughter. As a new and naive father, I was determined to develop and implement a revolutionary strategy with flawless execution and accountability. I believed I had created the “holy grail” and our children would display the perfect demeanor. I followed the KISS method and developed the ideal mantra “You have to be polite and wellmannered at all times.” It’s too early tell whether our never-ending chant will positively impact their behaviors. But all kidding aside, it is parental responsibility to teach your children to understand right from wrong. Unfortunately, somewhere during the transition to adulthood, many people begin to lose their affectionate civil behaviors and do not improve their emotional intelligence. They are unable to understand and fully develop their self-awareness, self-control, empathy, relationship development skills and ability to lead and inspire others.

Workplace rudeness is widespread and on the rise. The costs of these inappropriate behaviors diminish customer loyalty resulting in lower financial margins. An article from the Harvard Business Review (HBR), The Price of Incivility, details a study which collected data from 14,000 people from the United States and Canada. It concluded two pain points. Incivility is expensive and few organizations recognize or take action to curtail it. Many of the managers admitted incivility was wrong, but didn’t realize the tangible costs. The study also polled 800 managers and employees in 17 industries. Among the workers who’ve been on the receiving end of incivility:

  • 48% intentionally decreased their work effort

  • 47% intentionally decreased the time spent at work

  • 38% intentionally decreased the quality of their work

  • 80% lost work time worrying about the incident

  • 63% lost work time avoiding