[November 24, 2013] I originally wrote this blog post with the title “Disrespect to Leaders” but realized that I was actually leaving out a big part of the picture by not including “anger.” What brought me to this conclusion was an article published a couple of days ago entitled “America’s Anger Epidemic: Why?” by Dan Bowens.
In order to buy into the belief that there has been a trend of increasing disrespect and anger in the workplace, one doesn’t have to look far. Certainly this is largely circumstantial but there are studies out showing that Americans are more angry than ever. To counter this trend, leaders should establish a positive workplace culture.
Bowens explains the anger in Americans as a product of uncertainty in the job market. I certainly don’t agree with his reasoning but for the sake of completeness, here is a list of common reasons cited for workplace disrespect and anger.
- Declining morality and values
- Decreased attention to religion and spiritual matters
- Increased prosperity and the decline of “want”, instant gratification
- Infection of political correctness
- Increasingly litigious society
Bowen also mentions “celebrity meltdowns.” Presumably, people emulate them. He has a point but people also observe our political leaders and see the rancor in the current debate over the government’s overspending and recent problems with implementing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Sadly, the dysfunction of disrespect and anger is too often seen directed against leaders, but it is certainly not restricted to this venue. It can be observed against customers and other employees. In most big cities like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco (my personal observations), it is easy to observe the dysfunction in most department stores, public-government agencies, etc.
Leaders should not allow the infection of disrespect and anger – although much easier said than done. But this is what leaders must do. Only through leaders having the motivation and the moral courage to make a change and by creating that positive culture, progress can be made.