While sifting through my overloaded inbox this afternoon, the subject line of one of the messages caught my eye. The email was from GPS For The Soul, a section of The Huffington Post. I love receiving their emails. They always have great articles written by talented writers. The subject line - Rudeness is contagious - made me immediately open the email. The article, written by Jennifer Lea Reynolds, speaks about how rudeness and other negative attitudes in the workplace tend to rub off on peers in the same space. "Apparently, interaction with rude people may make you rude yourself.", states Reynolds.
And doesn't that make sense? Most of us spend a great deal of our day surrounded by the people we work with. We all have experienced how rapidly a cold or the flu can spread through the office. Even gossip, as mentioned in the article, can spread like wildfire among a group of people who spend so much time in each other's presence.
But I think the key work in Jennifer Lea Reynold's quote is MAY. Just the use of that word alone opens the very real possibility that rudeness does not have to rub off on you. So, how can we stop the spread of rudeness, and possibly gossip, in the workplace? Let's think about one of the main suggestions doctors make to prevent the spread of germs that can lead to cold or flu. Most physicians will tell you that frequent hand washing is pivotal to stopping the spread of these dangerous germs. Maybe to stop the negative energy at the office we need to, again, just wash our hands; rid ourselves of the tolerance to entertain any depleting energy in our personal space. Perhaps we need to simply wash our hands of those people and situations that foster the growth of gossip, rumors, and rudeness at our jobs. Distance ourselves from those people who perpetuate those activities which make us (or the would make the person being discussed) feel anything but good on the inside. Stay clear of those spaces (like the staff lounge) that seem to be the birthplace of defamatory tales - whether fact or fiction.
How about we take things a step further? What if a group of people in the office we just as determined to lift others up with their words and actions as they are to put them down? If rudeness can conquer the workplace with ease, surely love and kindness can do the same thing. Are you the one to start this new trend? Spread some good news throughout the staff. Whisper compliments to coworkers instead of criticism. Leave a Little Bit Card of the desks of some peers who could use a random pep talk. It really doesn't take much. In fact, the main philosophy of The Little Bit Project is that's all that it takes. A little bit.
You can read the entire article here. And be sure to share your thoughts and comments below!