Who has a responsibility to prevent violence in the workplace? The C-suite? Mid-level management? Frontline employees? The answer is—everyone!
While an individual cannot control the actions of another person, he can (generally) control himself. How does this impact workplace violence? Through what CPI calls the Integrated Experience—my attitudes and behaviors affect your attitudes and behaviors, and vice versa.
To reduce the likelihood of violence occurring in your workplace, keep the following tips in mind:
Be respectful to others. It's generally easier for people to be respectful to someone if they feel respected. Respecting others is a foundational concept in the Prepare Training® program and can be demonstrated not only with the words you use in your communication, but with your facial expressions, body language, personal space, and vocal tones.
The Prepare Training® program
is highly effective, adaptable training that utilizes CPI's proven methods for managing disruptive and aggressive behavior.
Be aware of extenuating circumstances. When someone approaches you and he already demonstrates agitation or frustration, understand that he is dealing with things outside of your (and possibly his) control. Circumstances also impact the way we communicate with people, so it’s just as important to check your own frustration before engaging in a communication with a customer or coworker.
Be the tattle-tale. If you witness disruptive behavior, threats, bullying, etc., it's your responsibility to communicate that to the appropriate individual(s). It may be your supervisor, a human resources representative, or an employee hotline—but know whom you should tell and then do it. No one wants to be seen as a tattle-tale, but those in a position to assess and address a potentially violent situation can’t perform their duties if they don’t know something is happening.
Be open and action-oriented. If you're in a position of leadership or responsibility, people have to be comfortable coming to you with information they hear and see, so be open and approachable. People also want to know that you’ve taken action with what they’ve told you or with a report they filed, even if they can’t know specifics. One of the things I worked on as an assets-protection executive in stores was to build a culture where my teams were my eyes and ears. There was only one of me, but hundreds of them, and together we could work to mitigate risks to our customers, our team, and our building. This only happened because I created an environment where people were comfortable coming to me, knew I was open to hear what they had to say, and would do something with the information.
These, of course, are not the end-all-be-all to a workplace free of violence, but rather a starting point, and simple to implement.