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When considering wellbeing do you also consider your behaviour towards others?

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Mental health and wellbeing have become hot topics, especially on the work front with employers being asked to look after their staff by developing wellbeing strategies and initiatives that will support them and eventually lead to a wellbeing culture.

The pandemic has made us all more aware of our own wellbeing and about looking after ourselves. There have been many articles on this subject and comments made about the importance of being kind and considerate to others, too. One of APM’s values is ‘warm’ and we like to think that’s how we come across when we interact with others, even in challenging circumstances.

Taking note of our wellbeing, and being kind and considerate isn’t just for our families and co-workers. It’s also in the way we handle things that crop up in our day to day lives. Social media and digital platforms make it much easier nowadays to vent our frustration to the point of rudeness. While ‘having a vent’ or posting a sarcastic comment online may feel perfectly normal to many of us these days, this is not considering someone else’s wellbeing. It’s important to think about how easily a negative comment can cross the line into something that offends or upsets someone else. It could also have potential knock-on effects for the person at the opposite end who is dealing with the situation.

This also applies when sending an email or talking on the phone. If you’re unhappy with a situation or believe something hasn’t been done correctly, you’re entitled to express your opinion. However, think about how you come across; be professional and provide constructive feedback. Having a rant or venting your anger will negatively affect the person at the other end of the phone or email. You can still get your point of view across if it’s done in a pleasant and civil manner. The person at the receiving end will be more willing to help if you remain calm and polite. In fact, studies have shown that a courteous approach not only has a positive effect on wellbeing, but can also strengthen social and workplace relationships by producing positive emotional states and helping people cope better with stress.

There are numerous ways that people can be rude or aggressive to others in everyday situations without even realising it. Do you recognise any of the below?

  • Omitting greetings and farewells (e.g. 'good morning', 'hi' or ‘bye for now’) in emails or phone calls. This can strike a domineering or uncaring tone. You may think you’re just being swift and to the point (and perhaps you are) but how is this tone likely to make the other person feel?
  • Using phrases like ‘I’m sorry but…’ or ‘I don’t mean to sound rude but…’ These create an impression that someone is trying to legitimise offensive or hurtful comments. Professional, valid feedback – when delivered properly – would not be interpreted as rude, nor would it require an apology.
  • Speaking sarcastically. Sarcasm is hit or miss in most conversations but it's especially risky if people don’t know your sense of humour. Be mindful of your audience and consider whether the current conversation is the right time and place for sarcasm.

For those of you who do consider yourselves prone to having a rant, ‘telling it like it is’ or ‘just blowing off steam’, should you not be questioning your own behaviour? Are you practicing what you preach? Are you someone who has ‘liked’ a wellbeing article or mentioned being kind and considerate in a recent post, but then been (unintentionally) rude or aggressive to the person at the end of the line if you aren’t happy with something?

Considering people’s feelings and thinking about their wellbeing should be just as important as your own wellbeing and mental health. After all, they’re only doing their job in very demanding and difficult circumstances. Coronavirus has put many people under immense pressure. A thought for their good mental wellbeing is surely a step in the right direction.

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