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!



11/15/2016 6:54pm

Thank you for sharing this with us. I'm a leader and I find it challenging when it comes to dealing with people or events. It is very important for us to be fair in treating our constituents. When we become a leader, the first thing we need to build up is to have a solid relationship with them. It is really important in creating a healthy organization.


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