The best way to prevent workplace violence is to have compassion for the potential “perpetrator”. Often the job is the only source of such an individual’s self esteem. This is especially true for those experiencing personal issues or a mental condition.
Warning signs that a co-worker may be on the verge of violence or bullying are:
- A low tolerance for frustration, paranoia or a romantic interest in a coworker who doesn’t return that interest.
- Behaviors such as threats, being a loner, carrying a concealed weapon or having a history of violent behavior.
- The individual’s environment, such as personal problems, a toxic supervisor, substance abuse or workplace stress.
Research has indicated that the number one predictor of workplace violence is a past history of violent behavior. Acts of violence generally fall under one of three levels. Level one includes belligerence, excessive use of profanity, sexual comments, refusal to cooperate with one’s supervisor and the spreading of rumors to harm others. This behavior can and needs to be stopped before developing into more serious behaviors.
My programs for education and training of employees re Bullying Prevention, Stress and Anger Management are key to workplace violence prevention together with an awareness that reporting unacceptable behavior of a colleague is not being a “tattletale”. It’s being smart.