Rudeness at work has serious consequences

People who are rude to others in the workplace may be unaware that their behaviour could have wide-reaching consequences. New research published in the Journal of Organisational Behaviour has revealed a colleague's attitude can have a significant impact on relationships that are totally separate from the office.

Meredith Ferguson, Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at the Baylor University Hankamer School of Business - an institute that seeks to produce the business leaders of tomorrow - noted stress caused by interaction in the workplace can be taken home by a person whose subsequent actions impact his or her family or partner.

Ms Ferguson observed negative emotion and perceived ostracism on the job can even have an impact on a loved one's life at work.

"This research underlines the importance of stopping incivility before it starts so that the ripple effect of incivility does not impact the employee's family and potentially inflict further damage," she added.

Dr Caroline Schuster, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "As we now know, our job affects how we feel about ourselves and it gives us a sense of our identity, as sense of understanding about who we are (to ourselves, and to those we know)." 

"Ferguson's research seems to be saying that our relationships are affected by relationships at work – this makes sense. Thinking about just how important our jobs are to us (self-esteem, identity, status, financial security, social interaction, autonomy, job satisfaction etc.), the relationships we maintain at work are extremely important to us. 

"We need a good relationship with our boss as it makes us feel more secure and safe in the workplace. Equally we want to be on good terms with our colleagues and peers, as we often have to work closely with them. So harmony is what we strive for at work because it helps us feel safe, valued and fuels a happy/positive working climate in which to function.

"Communicating well and maintaining a positive working environment are all part of emotional intelligence (EI) – something that all people at work need as a skill or attribute. There is no doubt that EI drives a positive working environment. The best organisational assessment and development is already measuring for EI in selection procedures. The challenge is ensuring that organisations do use the best assessment and selection procedures available."