Some organizations are plagued with persistent workplace aggression.  The research shows that there are some organizations that are in fact at-risk for workplace violence.  However, organizations often inadvertently create cultures of persistent workplace aggression when they fail to address this issue in the workplace by not ensuring that they have adequate leadership. 

Organizations are particularly at risk for the development of workplace aggression when the administration and/or leaders are the aggressors.  Many times leaders in the workplace believe that they have the ability to leader merely because they are in a position of power.  They may be unsure of how to use power in a positive manner and may fall prey to using power to harm others in the workplace.  Anyone who speaks out against them is likely to become a target.  Thus, the seed for a persistent workplace aggression is planted.

It is standard operating procedure for an organization to promote someone based on longevity or because they have a particular skill set geared towards the workplace, such as writing or math, not based on their leadership abilities.  These leaders really require training to develop their skills.  However, organizations frequently do not provide the necessary support or training to ensure that the administrators are trained appropriately.  As a result, leaders are at-risk to develop ineffective ways to deal the workplace.  This paves the way for persistent workplace aggression to start and continue.

Leaders often do not recognize their own bad behavior or how their leadership impacts the overall culture.  The assumption is often that if you are in a leadership position that you have the ability to lead.  Effective leaders are those that are willing to evaluate their own abilities and adjust them based on feedback provided by their workers.  Ineffective leaders continue to do what is in their best interest which many times is aggression in the workplace.  The impact that this has on an organization can be devastating because it provides the opening for continued persistent workplace aggressors.

Leaders who are aggressive in the workplace role modeling this behavior as acceptable and as such, persistent workplace aggression is supported and encouraged.  Even though workers may cycle in and out, the culture has become one of persistent workplace aggression and workers are quickly socialized into this.  Workplace aggressors are rewarded and targets are victimized.  Thus, creating the perpetual culture of persistent workplace aggression. 

It is vital that organizations address issues of leadership to ensure safe working environments for everyone.  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.



Thank you for making your point clear and concise. I've been a victim of office aggression once in my life and I can say that it really has a big impact on my performance. I had a hard time coping up that it also affected my relationship with friends and family. There are times when I go home early even if my shift is not through yet and I haven't finish my tasks. Today, I'm still doing my best to overcome that situation and I'm hoping that it will not happen to me again.

10/21/2017 12:13am

No leader should ever let a workplace aggression complaint go unsolved. Even if leaders handle bigger concern they should not ignore issues like this that have the potential of going rogue if not controlled immediately. An ineffective leader would blatantly ignore issues like this because he or she thinks that she or he is above this kind of issue. They delegate the tasks to lower subordinates until it is passed on to someone who has little power to act on the issue. Powerful leadership is being in control of things that a lot of people are afraid to touch on like workplace aggression. If a leader is prepared to take on this kind of issue then you are sure to know that that leader is ready to take on bigger and more complicated issues that will come the company's way.


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