It is important to remember that aggressors are always a threat to targets. However, there is an increased risk for violence when the target makes a complaint about the aggression. During these times, aggressors feels threatened and react accordingly. Leaders should immediately take steps to protect targets once allegations of persistent workplace aggression have been made.
Persistent workplace aggression will also escalate when organizations intervene and hold the aggressor accountable. This will trigger the aggressor’s need for revenge on the target because they believe they are losing control of the work environment. Not only will the aggressors continue to harm the target but they will also use this opportunity to test leadership. They will push the boundaries to see if they will be held accountable by administration. As such, organizations need to prepare themselves for continued attacks of aggression that most likely will include leadership as well as the target.
Another high-risk time for organizations is when a target resigns. This intensifies the aggression because the perpetrator now has a time limit to get their target. Therefore, they will inflict as much harm given the time they have left. Aggressors will also use this opportunity to promote fear among others workers. The aggressor is trying to set the stage for the next victim by showing everyone that they are still controlling the workplace using aggression. The aggressor is promoting fear to ensure that the status quo of workplace aggression will continue even after the target leaves. Once a target resigns, organizations can expect more overt and frequent incidences of workplace aggression. It is therefore, vital that leadership continues to hold the aggressor accountable and to set boundaries with them. This is also an opportunity for leadership to intervene and improve the work environment. With effective intervention, leadership can stop the persistent workplace aggression rather than allowing it to continue.
If you or your organization is experiencing persistent workplace aggression or you need training on this issue, 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.