Co-worker have bad manners? Join the club

By: Angela Starke Email
By: Angela Starke Email

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - So, your co-worker has bad manners. You're not the only one to suffer. A new study says that rudeness in the workplace is a problem for more than 70 percent of employees.

Nancy Langkamer owns Rita's Italian Ice on Market Square - where she encourages her employees to treat customers and each other with respect.

"That is one thing that I look for. Are they being courteous, polite and respectful?" Langkamer said. "And I actually tell them that in the interview that those are the only people that I hire."

But she's not surprised by a recent survey that shows rudeness in the workplace is on the rise.

A study presented to the American Psychological Association shows more than 70 percent of American workers say they have coworkers who are rude or have bad manners. They add it's even visible among members of Congress - especially during the recent debt debate.

The study suggests that the economic downturn may be one of the reasons your coworkers are so rude. An increased stress can place a burden on management and workers alike - increasing the odds for workplace conflicts. But etiquette experts say that's no excuse.

"There are three principles to having good manners," according to etiquette consultant Flora Mainord of Knoxville.

She says employees need to be respectful, considerate and honest with each other. And a down economy is an opportunity to wow your boss.

"That is the time they need to be pleasant and be nice so that they can keep their job," Mainord said. "Not to be rude - especially to other people in their office, which makes it so unpleasant."

An unpleasantness Langkamer says is a dealbreaker when it comes to hiring.

"Most of my employees are college students, and I can't teach them (courtesy) at 19 and 20. That's something they had to learn at home," Langkamer explains.

Mainord also says that most college graduates looking for work now are used to relying on cell phones and text messages to
communicate. She encourages young clients to learn how to communicate in person more effectively. It could be the only way they can land a job.

Mainord says there are several books available if you want to polish your own manners. She suggests: "The Complete Guide to Executive Manners" by Letitia Bladridge; "The Etiquette Advantage in Business," by Peggy Post and Peter Post; and "Choosing Civility" by Dr. P.M. Forni.

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