Big enough to be rude?
Large companies and important people can be rude. I’m not saying its right but it’s true. They can ignore common people and cut to the head of the line. They can walk past without greeting others. They can discount customer’s who are part of acceptable losses. If you are big enough, you can ignore others.
Are you big enough to be rude?
You’re walking down the hall with next quarter’s budget on your mind when a “lesser” person walks by. You’re preoccupied with “important” issues and you snub them. Are common courtesies suspended because you’re dealing with big issues?
Are deadlines, budgets, conflicts, tensions, and stresses an excuse to be rude? Is your current situation big enough to suspend courteous etiquette?
The great leaders I’ve met focus on others regardless of the “important” issues they faced. They speak calmly, physically face others, and for a moment let individuals know they mattered. Truly great leaders aren’t big enough to be rude.
If you aren’t careful, the million and one pressures you face become both motivation and reason for life to turn inward and become about you.
Rising above rudeness:
#1. Express personal interest in employees or volunteers? If you don’t, the people around you are cogs in a machine. You’re dehumanizing them. Focus on work and people.
#2. Find someone you can dump on? It’s true, you are pressured and stressed. However, buried emotions don’t go away they intensify until they become excuses for rudeness.
#3. Slow your pace. People under pressure and in a hurry can’t afford manners.
#4. Explore what others says when they speak otherwise. Your greatest resource is people not product.
How can leaders overcome pressure to turn inward? When is it acceptable for leaders to suspend etiquette?
I was going thru Lencioni’s book on the four passions of an effective CEO. I am sure he would have some interesting thoughts on this. Building a cohesive team…
Lot of truth in what you have spotted as a good essential quality in a leader to get respected. In fact, one needs to be courteous and human while dealing with fellow workers. However, the pride in having reached a position of status in the society in terms of wealth, power or authotity tempts a person to behave differently with people around. The motive is to show off in majority of cases.
Own values, simplicity and humility can make a person big in the eyes of masses. Such a person is also bestowed by the God’s blessings all the time. He should believe that whatever he has achieved is due to the collective efforts of all and not with singular efforts.
He can suspend his etiquette only when he finds that people are either rude with him, disrespect his decisions or unreasonable in their demands. This behavior could be a temporary one just to express the dissatisfaction by not mixing up bit naturally and keeping a distance for a short period. After all, a leader has to be exemplary by way of his good behavior to win the hearts of masses to achieve common goals.
Dr. Mrunal K. Asher
ITM Business School, Kharghar,
Navi Mumbai. INDIA
Nice topic Dan.
It is understandable that people who achieve certain ‘status’ in society take pride in their work and have a feeling that they are above Joe – the plumber. Being rude to others is just one of the many ways of showing the same. But my personal take on this is: do you have to really do that? I mean one of the many qualities that you would expect in a leader is courtesy, empathy and some emotional intelligence.
Also this brings up another point of how to tackle ‘such kind’ of people? Obviously if your boss is rude to you, you can’t go on being rude to him!
Great post Dan,
As a naval officer of some 20 years experience, I am no stranger to folks who believe that manners are not required. I have also found that something bizarre has happened over the last two decades – sailors are showing up with post secondary education. Gone are the days of the “do this because I said so” command and control style Navy. Freshly arrived? The navy where sailors want to understand why they are doing things and contribute to the entire process vice being cogs in a faceless machine. They want responsibility. They want to be challenged. They want to be inspired. What they demand is a modern approach that includes manners, people skills and clear vision. They demand leaders who can communicate beyond a drill book. And frankly, it’s about time!
For those interested in emotional intelligence in leadership (I am currently doing a paper on the connection), look to explore the transformational model.
Very wonderful read… I remember my father use to tell about his boss who use to visit the plant and while driving back from the plant office, pick anyone from the road leading to the exit of the plant who had dared to give him a salute out of gratitude …The chauffeur gives a whimsical grin and drive harum-scarum to the destination, while the boss shares about his aspiration and moot a discussion no-where connected to the poor soul who is now the fellow traveler. The funny part is that when the discussion ends, he indicates the chauffeur to slow down and while the person disembark from the car. Now the person is on his own…and has to return to work.
Thank you for the reminder.
I have to admit I have been there. No excuse. When you have realised it, just walk up and say “I am sorry” (Yes, I know what it does to the ego !).
To err is human, to forgive is devine.