Is it possible that we are literally too sick and tired to be nice?  Maybe.

Rudeness and retention do not mix.  Managers, your employees say so.  Sad to say, they would rather have less money than have a boss that is not a champion of civility in the workplace.

So why exactly are people so nasty at work? Why are our workplaces so stressful?   Good question.   And there’s not an easy answer.   I suspect the reasons vary depending on the workplace and on the people involved. We can blame change.   For example, the factors below could have impact, such as:   downsizing and restructuring; labor shortages; outsourcing; demographic shifts at work related to generations and cultures that make up the work team; economic insecurity; technology – and keeping up with the pace of change; trends in work style, e.g., mobile executives; and job-share programs.

In addition to absorbing change, there seems to be much concern about job security.  On average, Americans hold seven to eight different jobs before age 30.  It’s difficult to settle in and build rapport, never mind loyalty, if everyone’s constantly got one foot out the door.  And it is difficult for employers to commit to training and long-term work contracts if they perceive a lack of loyalty or longevity in their work team.

Maybe it’s a lack of leadership.  After all, 25% of managers who admitted to having behaved badly said they were uncivil because their leaders, their own role models, were rude.  And, in a survey of 1000 American Executives, Michelle McQuaid, a leader in Positive Psychology interventions, found that only 35% of Americans are happy at their jobs, with 65% saying a better boss would make them happy.  And only 35% say a pay raise will do the same thing.  Trust could be the reason.  In Edelman’s Trust Barometer, where results from 31, 000 respondents representing 26 markets around the world were gathered, only 18% of those surveyed trust business leaders to tell the truth. That is just slightly higher than the statistic for trusting government officials, which was only 13%.

Or could it be our state of mind?  Has all the stress and struggle to balance or get ahead left us physically less hardy and psychologically and emotionally less resilient?  Job stress is increasingly recognized as a determinant of employee health and productivity.  The experience of chronic stress is used in theoretical models as a predictor of increased risk of mental and physical problems, including chronic conditions such as heart disease, asthma, migraines, and ulcers.  Alarmingly, depression will rank second only to heart disease as the leading cause of disability worldwide by the year 2020, which can impact the workplace in areas such as bottom-line production and teamwork.

Excerpt, The 30% Solution, Lew Bayer