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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (320) 309-2360. You can also visit my website at www.jankircher.com. Help is out there!