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Being a target of persistent workplace aggression integrates into every aspect of one’s personal and professional life. It is difficult to explain how persistent workplace aggression overshadows everything that a target does, often making a target wear blinders to the effects.

Targets experience a wide range of physical health difficulties because of victimization. The impact of persistent workplace aggression on one’s health often starts out small and are attributed to routine effects from balancing work and households. Targets may experience sleep or eating issues. It can even exacerbate physical conditions that the target is diagnosed with.  Over time, the physical health consequences increase and can become significant.

The physical health issues are additional consequences the target deals with because of persistent workplace aggression.  This is a result of internalizing the overwhelming and regular abuse that they suffer at work. The lack of intervention from organizations re-victimizes targets which leads to additional physical responses for them. 

Many targets increase the use of their health insurance, visit their doctor more often, and have additional absences at work due to physical ailments. Many victims report a wide range of physical diagnoses none of which have been linked to workplace bullying. Again, this is because these diagnoses can often be attributed to other factors in a person’s life.

I have had many conversations with targets who have described the devastation to their health. Recently, my own experience with this reinforces the impact that persistent workplace aggression has on physical health. 

I have been diabetic for a long time and it has been under control from the start. During the past six months, I struggled with getting my blood sugar into the normal range and at the same time, the persistent workplace aggression I suffered intensified immensely. As this was happening, I was consumed with surviving and what was going on at work that I attributed the lack of control with been a long time diabetic and aging. Even though I study this issue, I failed to make any connections between work and health issues because I was could not see past the abuse.

Upon reflection, I now know that it was persistent workplace aggression that I was experiencing that influenced my health negatively.  I say this with a great deal of confidence because within two weeks of resigning, my blood sugar was under control and back to normal.


It is time that organizations make addressing persistent workplace aggression a priority since the consequences are so detrimental to targets.  It is no longer acceptable for organizations to ignore this issue.  It is just costing organizations and workers too much.  

If you or your organization are 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.



 
 
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The persistent workplace aggressive environment can turn almost anyone into an aggressor. So, we all need to be aware that aggressive workplaces can transform any worker into an aggressor.   However, some workers are at an increased risk and more susceptible to be persistent workplace aggressors. Identifying these indicators helps organizations better understand persistent workplace aggression and allows them to weed out possible aggressors before they hire them.

One of these markers that help identify a workplace aggressor starts when people are getting their education. Research shows that students who have faculty and internship advisors who are not role modeling good professional boundaries are more likely to mirror this bad behavior in the workplace. Unfortunately, these students tend learn that aggression is rewarded and they replicate this in the workplace.

Certain personality qualities also are red flags that help identify future persistent workplace aggressors. Two that are directly connected are self-reflection and blaming others. 

People who are not able to self-reflect on their own behavior and understand how it impacts others are at high risk to be potential aggressors. Lacking this skill is detrimental to the workplace because these individuals have no ability to see how their aggression is negatively impacting the environment. Workers who are unable to self-reflect are unable to change their behavior.

Blaming other people for one’s behavior is another characteristic that aids in identifying persistent workplace aggressors.  These individuals are unable to reflect on their own behavior and they blame everyone else in the organization for what is happening. Their behavior does not cause issues in the organization. It is everyone else’s fault. As such, they are not responsible nor do they need to alter their behavior. Blaming others combined with lack of reflection are key warnings that the worker could be a budding persistent workplace aggressor.  People with these qualities tend to target those workers who they view as being problematic. Even though, in reality, they are most likely the ones who are difficult to work with.

Anyone of us have the potential to be aggressors in the workplace. However, there are indicators that can help organizations identify potential persistent workplace aggressors. It is recommended that organizations develop screening processes to assist them with identifying workers who might bring total chaos into the workplace.

If you or your organization are 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.



 
 
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There are many types of behaviors that constitute persistent workplace aggression. Retaliation is one of the major ways that an aggressor goes after a target. It is very subtle, covert, and frequently unrecognized by organizations. Retaliation results from the aggressor thinking that the target has outed them to leadership or their peers as being abusive in the workplace. This may or may not be accurate, but the aggressor accepts this belief as truth. Thus, the attacks against the target intensify becoming unrelenting. Retaliation causes tremendous harm to the target and every other worker as well. 

Retaliation creates an atmosphere of fear and one where the target may become too scared to say anything more about the aggressor. If the target continues to make complaints, there is no limit to what the aggressor is willing to do and the workplace exploitation will continue to manifest itself unless it is stopped. 

The goal of retaliation is not only to control the target’s behavior, but it is also to send a warning to others who might be thinking about exposing the workplace aggressor. The aggressor uses retaliation as a weapon to control all workers’ behavior and to keep the abuse hidden. 

Retaliation creates an environment of terror influencing the overall organizational atmosphere and spilling over onto everyone in the workplace. Retaliation clearly establishes unwritten norms where targets and bystanders recognize that persistent workplace aggression will intensify if they speak to anyone about the aggressor. They learn very quickly to keep their mouths shut.

The terror that targets and bystanders feel is only heightened when leadership fails to intervene. Permitting the aggressor to continue to abuse the target and retaliate is unacceptable. Lack of intervention on the part of administration allows the aggressor to continue their workplace warfare and leadership's inability to effectively intercede creates sustained organizational terror.

In organizations where persistent workplace aggression has been identified, leadership must act. Leadership needs to develop an understanding of what retaliation is and how it is used by the persistent workplace aggressor. They must immediately protect the target when retaliation is brought to their attention. If they do not, they perpetuate the problem and add to the abuse that the target is experiencing.

If you or your organization 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.