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!



Workplace aggression is not a part of any job. Employers and leaders should really take the necessary steps to protect their employees from any threat or assault that may cause them harm or injury. They should be aware of possible signs of aggression like verbal threats or actual physical violence to keep the situation from getting worse. Sometimes, speaking to employees in private and raising your concerns can really help.

08/03/2017 5:33am

Leaders must be the role model. They have to be the motivator and the ones who encourage more. I believe that they also have to be really innovative when it comes to their strategies. They should be well effective when it comes to organizing and pursuing their responsibilities. I know that being a leader is not an easy one, but it is surely something really worth becoming.


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