CIOs Need To Understand The Effect Of Rudeness

CIOs need to be aware of the effects of rudeness in the workplace
CIOs need to be aware of the effects of rudeness in the workplace
Image Credit: Vladimer Shioshvili

As the person with the CIO job, you have a lot on your plate. You need to make sure that the company’s networks are kept secure and you need to make the right decisions about new technology that the company is considering because of the importance of information technology. However, you also have to remember that you are a manager and that the IT department is your responsibility. You need to make sure that your department is running as smoothly as possible. What this means for you is that you need to be aware of the effect of rudeness.

The Power Of Rudeness

I can almost hear what you are thinking now: rudeness? I mean I’ve got a lot of things on my plate and rudeness sure doesn’t seem like it’s all that big of a deal. However, that’s where you would be wrong. The reason that you need to care about rudeness as the CIO is that studies have shown that if one of your IT workers witnesses rudeness in the morning, then it is going to have a negative impact on their job performance all day. What you need to realize is that rudeness can have a serious cost associated with it.

So let us all agree, just exactly what is rudeness? The best way to define it is as being low-intensity deviant behavior with ambiguous intent to harm. What the researchers have discovered is that just like the common cold, rudeness is contagious. What a lot of CIOs don’t realize is just how much rudeness the people in their IT departments experience on a daily basis. Studies have shown that 98% of workers experience rudeness on the job. 50% of workers said that they engage in rude exchanges at least weekly. What a CIO needs to realize is that anyone who experiences rudeness can then become a carrier. When this happens, rudeness can get passed down the chain from manager to worker.

When a worker experiences rudeness, they start to feel disengaged from their job. When this happens, the company can experience a significant loss of revenue from things like project delays and worker cognitive distractions. Something as simple as witnessing an act of rudeness can end up contaminating a worker’s entire day. The result of this is that how the worker views the world for that day is going to negatively altered. When a worker experiences rudeness in the morning the impact later in the day can be very negative. Their task performance and progress towards a goal can be low. They will avoid interactions with other coworkers. If at all possible, they will avoid thinking about work. Because of what they experienced in the morning, everyone now seems to be rude and so these workers disengage and thus their performance decreases.

The Lasting Effects Of Rudeness

The important thing for CIOs to realize is that exposure to rudeness may not affect all of their employees the same way. Studies have shown that there is a small percentage of workers who have the ability to not allow the sight of a rude interaction to affect their work performance. What makes these workers different from everyone else is that they tend to possess a high level of core self-evaluations. What this means is that they have a personality characteristic that includes generalized self-efficacy, self-esteem, a locus of control, and emotional stability.

The problem that the workers in the IT department have is that seeing rudeness in the morning can end up coloring their entire day. Studies have been done that show that workers who experience rudeness in the morning are affected by it. The studies showed that in the afternoon people who saw rudeness in the morning reported perceiving greater rudeness in the workplace.

The reason that all of this happens has to do with the way that our brains are arranged. In our brains, everything is arranged in what is called a “semantic network”. When we think of something, related nodes are also accessed at the same time. An example would be if you think about a picnic you might also think about hot-dogs and watermelon. When a worker sees rudeness in the morning, it causes them to think about related concepts. If that worker encounters ambiguous behavior later in the day, they will be primed to see it as being more rude behavior.

What All Of This Means For You

So it turns out that on top of everything else that you have to worry about in the CIO position, now you also have to worry about how rude your IT workplace is. It turns out that being exposed to rude behavior in the morning can cause lasting impacts for your workers throughout the day. It looks like rudeness is one more thing that CIOs have to find a way to manage.

The reason that CIOs have to worry about rudeness is because it can have an impact on worker performance and that can have an impact on the company’s bottom line. Workers tend to experience a lot of rudeness in their lives. The problem is that if a worker experiences rudeness, then they are primed to become a carrier of rudeness. When a worker experiences rudeness, they tend to disengage from their job, job performance falls, and less work gets done. If there is any good news in all of this for CIOs, then its that there are some workers who have the ability to not be affected negatively by rudeness. For everyone else, if they see rudeness in the morning, it may end up coloring how they see the rest of their day. This has to do with the way that our brains are organized. If we see rudeness, then when we see something that is ambiguous, we’ll assume that it must be rude.

CIOs are responsible for making sure that the people in their department interact in the best ways possible. It turns out that when people are rude to each other, it can have a negative impact on their job performance and can impact the company. It is now the responsibility of the CIO to make sure that all workers treat each other with kindness and that we are able to eliminate rudeness from our workplace.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: What should a CIO do if they see rude behavior happening in their IT department?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

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