« Workplace Violence Prevention

Learning how to identify and diffuse a potentially violent employee’s frustration

Understanding warning signs of violent behavior can help business officials prevent a workplace violence incident
Understanding warning signs of violent behavior can help business officials prevent a workplace violence incident

Considering the significant damage that a workplace violence incident can have on an office's productivity and morale, business officials must be prepared to identify early warning signs that often precede a violent incident and implement techniques to diffuse the situation.

Addressing this issue, corporate and executive coach Michael Staver identified signs that employers should take note of to identify a potential violent outbreak in a 1995 book entitled "How To Diffuse Anger and Calm People Down," which were revisited in a recent article published by Forbes.

For example, the source notes that business officials should keep an eye out for employees who have been whining excessively, straying from usual patterns of behavior, making unreasonable demands and threatening their co-workers. Staver suggests these are all factors that could indicate something is wrong.

Once an official has identified an employee exhibiting this type of behavior, Staver makes recommendations to handle the situation without seeming condescending to the employee and potentially tipping him or her over the edge. This includes empathizing with the person's concerns rather than suggesting he or she calm down, as that tone could escalate the situation.

While Staver's tips could prove extremely useful in preventing a workplace violence incident from transpiring, business officials seeking more hands-on guidance would benefit from the services of a certified business continuity consultant. This type of professional can assess a company's existing business continuity plan and provide critical guidance to a business' decision makers so they can optimize their ability to reduce a disgruntled employee's frustration. This skill set could prove invaluable in ensuring that a situation does not grow and manifest into violence.

Furthermore, a business could also send company representatives to attend the Workshop On Emerging Trends And Approaches: Integrating And Collaborating Resources In Preventing Violence In The Workplace at the Continuity Insights Management Conference 2012 in Scottsdale, Arizona, for a detailed presentation on additional practices to identify tendencies that will help prevent violence in the workplace.