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cost of rudeness

Can You Afford The High Cost Of Rudeness?

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Rudeness, we might label it as disrespect, blame it on generational differences, or reference it as extremely poor customer service. Have you thought about the high cost of rudeness in your workplace?

There seems to be a growing trend with rude behaviors. Some might argue that this trend exists mostly because bad behaviors are widely accepted, or at least that they are often widely ignored.

Across the years there has been a lot of blame thrown at bad bosses. Certainly if workplace leaders exhibit rude behavior it can negatively impact employees. Christine Porath pointed out some of these in her 2015 article, “No Time to Be Nice at Work.”

Are there additional impacts associated with workplace rudeness?

{ This article originally appeared as a post I wrote for the New York City, SHRM Chapter. The article reached the top spot for popularity on that blog during May-June 2017. As I write this it is still sits in the top spot. Here is the link to the NYC SHRM article: Rudeness Costs, Can You Afford The Price? }

Learned Behaviors

Rudeness is a learned behavior. We might consider our social interactions, things we witness in public places, and of course the cultural behaviors of our workplace.

We see it on television shows that resemble cartoons, reality TV programming, and many of the modern day news channels. The same is true for social media where rudeness might sell with likes and clicks, thumbs up, or by going viral.

Rudeness seems to sell, and often sell big.

Cost of Rudeness

Does it eventually cost your business or organization? Yes, some of the costs are buried in employee turnover, loss of customers, and an unfavorable reputation.

There might be other costs too. In one recent example, a major news network encountered at least several harassment suits from employees, former employees, or contributors. True or not true, settled in or out of court, there is a price to be paid.

In any business, the behaviors associated with the work environment or customer experience has a price.

For most organizations it starts with the culture. How an organization communicates, interacts with customers, and treats its employees will have a lot to do with the behaviors that are replicated.

These costs can be minimized with employee training programs that target improving workplace civility, building a customer service culture, and developing better leaders.

Affording the Price

There is always a price to be paid. You can utilize prevention and maintenance that keeps your culture in check, or hope that things will never breakdown.

If you believe rudeness costs, prevention and maintenance seem like the logical choice.

If you don’t believe it, you might want to consider what happened with United Airlines or Allen Kovac before you make your final decision on your budget.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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