Recognize the Red Flags of Workplace Violence | DCR Workforce Blog

Recognize the Red Flags of Workplace Violence

As a rookie bank manager, I was given the lowdown on possible fraudsters and the innocuous stuff that finally gives them away. With due apologies to all workaholics and hard workers – the first and foremost among them is the fact that – these persons never ever apply for leave! It does not need a great stretch of imagination to understand why… any new person who fills in for them even for a day or two may get confused and draw attention to the creative book-keeping to hide their shenanigans or even figure out the truth.

Forewarned is Forearmed:

There have been many instances of unplanned violence, which erupted among family members, on university campuses, in schools and kindergartens. At least some of them could have been averted only if the cues for such behaviors were known to the people around them.

Just as no two human thumb prints ever match; no two human beings are ever alike. For that matter, no one is perfect either. So, experience teaches most of us to shelve our critical and judgmental natures and accept the different manifestations of human nature, as displayed in a colleague’s behavior and interaction with other people. Thus, it is a matter of great difficulty to correctly figure out when someone’s behavior transcends the normal and qualifies as nutty!

Knowing the red flags for behavior that could result in violent or dangerous conduct a person could really help the managers and co-workers at the workplace to avert untoward incidents. This does not necessarily require one to become suspicious of every single action – unusual or otherwise – and feel threatened.

Recognize the Red Flags:

Managers may be supported by policies of zero tolerance for any disruptive act; effectively supplemented by Employee Assistance Programs and if necessary, evaluations by professionals.

Given here are some signs of potential violence, as described by such professionals:

  • Aggression: History of violent behavior, Hostility, Bullying, Threatening, Insulting behavior, Verbal or written threats – issued orally or in written form (directly or indirectly) to people they dislike, Destructive, Cruel.
  • Resentment: Cynical, Blame-games, Dislike for boss/company/peer group, Constant cribbing, Complains about Treatment Received: Neglect, Lack of appreciation, Persecution, and other ill-treatments.
  • Lack of Motivation: Procrastination, distracted and nervous, poor personal grooming & hygiene, hopelessness.
  • Performance Issues: Inefficiency, Fall in performance, Low Attendance, .
  • Behavior Issues: Stubborn, Forgetful, Irritable, Emotional Instability, Unreasonable, Critical or Offensive.
  • Paranoid: Suspicious of colleagues and their opinion of themselves, Loners, Delusions of Grandeur, tantrums, moodiness, Irrational Thoughts and Ideas.
  • Medications: Misuse of drugs, Alcoholism, History of Medication/treatment for Behavioral Issues.
  • Interest in Weaponry: Watch interest in all kinds of weapons.
  • Belief Systems: Love the military, hate groups and various ‘isms. Approval for others who indulge in violence.
  • Financial Problems: Money problems, Loan Foreclosures, Pressing need for money.
  • Personal Problems: Death of near and dear; Messy divorce, custody issues, Brush with law over minor or major offences. Obsessive attachment with people and even things like gadgets and purses.

It helps if one stays alert to any of the signs detailed above to gain insight into what a person may be capable of, not going overboard and condemning any of them going by one or two signs. Ideally, it is more like a jigsaw puzzle – with 50 to 100 pieces which fit together effectively forming a picture.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.