Office rudeness causes employees to make more mistakes

University of Aberdeen professor Rhonda Flin writes in the British Medical Journal that work environments that include arguments and rude comments cause people to lose concentration and increase  their likelihood of making mistakes.

The most recent and widely publicized example of a hostile work environment impacting employee concentration is the incident where two Northwest Airlines pilots who overshot their airport by 150 miles while in the midst of a “heated discussion.” The pilots, on their way from San Diego to Minneapolis with 147 passengers on board, were so involved in their argument over airline policy that they lost focus (and their way) until a cabin crew member alerted the flightdeck.

Flin’s study, conducted among college students, repeatedly showed decreased performance levels among those who had been subjected to rude comments or simply overheard rude comments. Reportedly one in ten U.S. workers witness rudeness in the workplace every day and researchers say that 48% of employees who are the targets of rudeness, reduce their work effort. It’s no wonder, rampant rudeness in the workplace, especially at the hands of a bad boss, demoralizes workers. And an unmotivated, unappreciated employee means decreased productivity for both employee and employer.

Read more about Flin’s study here at

The crazy things bosses ask us to do

overworked-administrative-assistantA while back, the folks over at Business Management Daily asked administrative professionals “what was the craziest thing your boss ever asked you to do?”  Their comment section was flooded with responses.  Here’s a small sampling:

  • “My boss wanted me to figure out what happened and fix his wife’s car that was sitting dead in a parking lot clear across town.”
  • “Remind him when his children’s birthdays are and buy their presents and open his sandwich everyday to make sure there were no tomatoes on it.”
  • “A President of company expected me to wash out his mug and lunch dishes and utensils daily. I was not allowed to throw out the plastic forks even if one prong was broken off, because it was still usable.”
  • “Cut the tag out of the underpants she was wearing.”
  • “He asked me to drop off his pet’s stool sample at the vet’s. And dropped off the container on my desk while I was having lunch.”
  • “Drop off a urine specimen to his doctor.”
  • “A former boss who ran a business from his home asked me to shave his neck before he left on a business trip.” 

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t trust myself with a razor anywhere near any of my bosses’ necks.  Read more of the crazy here.

Access denied – When your boss wants to be your friend

bad boss friend request scottDan Schwabel over at Brazen Careerist posed a disturbing question today – What would you do if your boss sent you a friend request on Facebook? 

 After picking myself up off the floor at the realization that my boss actually had a Facebook account, I’d be pretty disturbed.  I haven’t always had bad bosses, but the thought of “friending” even the good ones gives me hives. 

So what’s an employee to do? Schwabel narrowed our options down to three. You could just accept the friend request unconditionally, granting your boss access to the most personal and sometimes most trivial details of your life.  Yeah…that would be a no for me.  The second, more palatable, but still disturbing alternative would be to accept the request and utilize your Facebook account settings to restrict what your boss will be able to see.  Utilizing that option would mean your boss would go to your wall, see your name, one photo of you and your dog, and know you’ve restricted his access.  Finally, and definitely more up my alley, you could explain to your boss that you want to keep your business and professional lives separate.  A reasonable boss would understand.  Actually, a reasonable boss wouldn’t have made the friend request in the first place. 

The flip side of granting your boss too much access to your personal life is learning way more than you ever wanted to know about his. Who cares what he had for breakfast or where he was on Saturday night?  And I for one, DO NOT want to see his semi-nude beach photos or who he’s been sending cocktails to.  That said, I choose option four, ignore his friend request all together.  Career suicide?  I doubt it, but if he’s that bad, I’m probably working on getting out of there anyway.  How would you deal with a friend request from a boss?