Leadership is a key component to dealing with persistent workplace aggression.  It takes commitment and skill development to cope effectively with a work environment that is plagued with aggression.  First, leaders need to open their eyes and recognize that persistent workplace aggression is a real issue that could be invading their workplace.  Persistent workplace aggression is increasing and as such, it is vital that leaders educate themselves on this issue now.  Education and training helps leaders develop a clear understanding of the factors that put organizations at risk, such as organizational change or organizational structure.  Knowing these help leaders be proactive in addressing persistent workplace aggression rather than reactive.   

Leadership style, directly and indirectly, influences the work culture.  Leaders, therefore, need to understand how their leadership skills affect their organization, both positively and negatively.  Leadership skills and style can create, enhance, and support a persistent workplace aggressive environment or they can help stop it.  For example, a leader who sends inappropriate emails or allows workers to express poor non-verbal behavior in meetings is setting the stage for aggression to occur.  They are essentially saying that unprofessional behavior is acceptable behavior.  In a workplace, leaders need to role model the behavior they went replicated, provide consequences for poor behavior, and reward good behavior. 

Leaders who are able to deal successfully with persistent workplace aggressive are those we are skilled at both listening and intervention.  This means that when accusations of workplace aggression occur, the leader hears them, takes these claims of aggression seriously, and the leader intervenes to ensure a safe work environment.  This is where many leaders drop the ball because they do not know who to believe or what to do.  Many leaders are caught up in who said what or who to believe rather than focusing on the issue of persistent workplace aggression.

If a leader does not know how to intervene, it is their responsibility to ask for help and figure out the best course of action.  Leaders may need to seek outside consultation on this issue because many organizations and human resource personnel do not know how to intercede effectively.  Leaders must remember that not intervening only enhances the aggression.  Lack of intervention is easier at times for leaders, but ultimately makes the work environment more toxic and increases the aggression.  It also reinforces the actions of the aggressor, encourages bad professional behavior, and makes the leader’s job much more difficult.

Leaders need to remain objective to ensure that they are treating people fairly and equitable.  This type of leaderships creates positive relationships with their workers, but also enhances the relationships amongst workers.  Thus, creating a collegial work environment where persistent workplace aggression is less likely to occur.

If you or someone you know is experiencing persistent workplace aggression, please contact me at jankircher@jankircher.com or (320) 309-2360. You can also visit my website at www.jankircher.com. Help is out there!

Organizations continue to be plagued with persistent workplace aggression. Workers who treat colleagues poorly are partially responsible for this, but organizations themselves are also accountable. Organizations perpetuate workplace aggression because they fail to act. Organizations frequently know that something wrong in their organizations and often there is awareness by co-workers and/or administration that workplace aggression is occurring.  However, organizations and leaders are often unwilling or unable to deal with the issue of persistent workplace aggression. They believe that if you ignore the problem and the aggression that eventually it will go away. This could not be further from the truth.

It seems easier not to act on persistent workplace aggression because of how complex it can be. However, leaders who do not actively seek a resolution to persistent workplace aggression are in fact making the culture worse and are likely impacting their bottom line. The acknowledgment that persistent workplace aggression is happening coupled with the disinclination to intervene only heightens the frustration for targets and bystanders. These feelings of dissatisfaction lead to a decrease in work productivity and profits, harm working relationships, and ultimately create turn over in the workplace. 

Failure to act not only makes the environment worse for the targets and bystanders, but it also reinforces the unwanted behavior of the aggressor. Aggressors quickly learn what they can and cannot get away with. Once the aggressor(s) knows that they will not be held accountable for their aggressive behavior, the intensity of the aggression increases and there is no hesitation in pushing the limits to their aggression. Thus, decreasing the quality of the work environment for everyone involved especially the target.

It is vital that organizations and leaders address persistent workplace aggression and stop it as soon as they have an inclination that this is a problem in their organization. Leaders must begin to act immediately when they become aware of persistent workplace aggression. Training and education to effectively deal with aggression in the workplace is vital. Ideally, organizations should develop a policy to define persistent workplace aggression, identify the consequences, and ensure protection from retaliation. Organizations can no longer afford to ignore persistent workplace aggression. The costs are just too high.

If you or someone you know is experiencing persistent workplace aggression, please contact me at jankircher@jankircher.com or (320) 309-2360. You can also visit my website at www.jankircher.com. Help is out there!

Over the years, I have heard many stories about organizations and agencies that fall prey to persistent workplace aggression. Often times, workers discuss with me how the aggression at their job has gone on for months and in some cases, even years. My first reaction is always how can this be? However, I know the extreme complexities and difficulties that go along with having a culture of aggression.

The longer that persistent workplace aggression is allowed to continue, the more difficult it is to stop it or to provide any effective intervention. One reason for this is that aggressive behavior becomes normalized as well as integrates into an intrinsic part of everyday work life. It is so ingrained into the culture that workers and leadership struggle with recognizing that the aggressive behavior is indeed inappropriate for the workplace. Behaviors that others might deem to be aggressive often do not even phase those who are exposed to workplace violence on a regular basis. Workers essentially develop an immunity to how bad their workplace has deteriorated and they struggle with gauging what is and is not suitable in the workplace. This is partially related to the lack of intervention on the part of the organization.

For example, I visited with a worker who was talking about their place of employment and provided me with some details about a meeting. They talked about name calling and raised voices by some of the workers attending the meeting. I suggested that this behavior might not be appropriate or professional for a workplace. This person responded with a clear lack of apathy and stated that it was actually a pretty good meeting. To this worker, the aggression they experienced did not even phase them because it was part of their work culture. Mostly likely, this type of aggression was occurring regularly and was probably not the worst this person had seen. However, from an outside perspective, most of us would agree that this type of aggressive behavior is not acceptable in the workplace.

At this moment there is not federal or state legislation that holds organizations accountable for stopping persistent workplace aggression. However, it is in fact, the organization’s responsibility to ensure that their workers are safe. This includes managing persistent workplace aggression and making sure that workplace is free from any type of abuse. Organizations who fail to intervene and especially those that allow persistent workplace aggression to continue for years are culpable for creating a toxic work environment. There are so many strategies that organizations can do to prevent and stop persistent workplace aggression.  Many of these require little to no effort. But many fail to respond because of their unwillingness to admit they might have a problem and/or that they just do not know what to do. It just seems easier for organizations to sit back and let persistent workplace aggression become a part of the normal work day.

If you or the organization you work for is experiencing persistent workplace aggression, please contact me at jankircher@jankircher.com or (320) 309-2360. You can also visit my website at www.jankircher.com. Help is out there.