Retaliation creates an atmosphere of fear and one where the target may become too scared to say anything more about the aggressor. If the target continues to make complaints, there is no limit to what the aggressor is willing to do and the workplace exploitation will continue to manifest itself unless it is stopped.
The goal of retaliation is not only to control the target’s behavior, but it is also to send a warning to others who might be thinking about exposing the workplace aggressor. The aggressor uses retaliation as a weapon to control all workers’ behavior and to keep the abuse hidden.
Retaliation creates an environment of terror influencing the overall organizational atmosphere and spilling over onto everyone in the workplace. Retaliation clearly establishes unwritten norms where targets and bystanders recognize that persistent workplace aggression will intensify if they speak to anyone about the aggressor. They learn very quickly to keep their mouths shut.
The terror that targets and bystanders feel is only heightened when leadership fails to intervene. Permitting the aggressor to continue to abuse the target and retaliate is unacceptable. Lack of intervention on the part of administration allows the aggressor to continue their workplace warfare and leadership's inability to effectively intercede creates sustained organizational terror.
In organizations where persistent workplace aggression has been identified, leadership must act. Leadership needs to develop an understanding of what retaliation is and how it is used by the persistent workplace aggressor. They must immediately protect the target when retaliation is brought to their attention. If they do not, they perpetuate the problem and add to the abuse that the target is experiencing.
If you or your organization is experiencing persistent workplace aggression, please contact me at email@example.com or (320) 309-2360. You can also visit my website at www.jankircher.com. Help is out there.