Workplace violence: Warning signs

Workplace violence can range from insubordination to acts of physical aggression that harms people and property. A frustrated employee may deal with perceived workplace injustice using violence when they feel it is the only way out.

Are there patterns or factors associated with violence in the workplace?  Yes!

Experts agree that there are signs, things one can see and hear that point to a need to give strict attention to preventive measures.

Individuals that seek to avenge their feelings of injustice always give off warning signs . It is rare that someone just snaps into destructive behavior. Violence usually erupts when the employee is convinced that no other solution is available.

An employee who is emotionally upset at work is three times more likely to commit violence if they are using drugs or alcohol. Most importantly, a history of violence (domestic or workplace) is a good predictor of a person’s likelihood to resort to future violence to deal with stress.

Here are some markers of a potentially violent employee taken from Marianne Minor’s book Preventing Workplace Violence. She recommends that if a person hits at least three of the following markers, one should take definitive steps to monitor and contain them:

  1. Frequent absenteeism
  2. Angry outbursts
  3. Sullen withdrawal
  4. Substance abuse
  5. Extreme disorganization
  6. Serious family problems
  7. Serious financial problems
  8. Ominous threats
  9. Intimidation of others
  10. Obsessions
  11. Romantic obsession/stalking
  12. History of violent behavior before or after current employment
  13. Obsessive involvement with job, with few outside interests
  14. Discussion of weapons or carrying of concealed weapon
  15. Increased frequency or intensity of above behaviors

Minor, M. (1995).  Preventing workplace violence: Positive management strategies. Menlo Park, CA: Crisp Publications.

Miller, L. (2008). From difficult to disturbed: Understanding and managing dysfunctional employees. New York: AMACOM/American Management Association.

Attitude is Everything: Introduction

Dealing with diversity is a powerful skill that demands energy and know-how. It involves confronting our dislikes and asking the tough question – who am I most comfortable with?

There are three steps that will help you to overcome any rigid thinking about others outside your comfort zone.

In this post we will look briefly at the first step, your attitude.

First, Manage your attitude or heart  by acknowledging your mythical  beliefs and perceptions about the person outside your comfort zone.

Managing your heart means taking control of your inner voice.

We all have people and places we are most comfortable being around. When we step outside of that comfort zone the inner voice of fear sometimes takes control.

Therefore, when interacting with people who are outside your comfort zone, acknowledge your beliefs and perceptions about the individual(s) you are uncomfortable being around and actively manage what goes on in your own mind.

The Attitude is Everything model is a simple way of distilling how we view others as a result of our stereotypes and mythical beliefs about individuals outside our comfort zone.

Our life position can be heard in what we say to ourselves. What we say to ourselves will influence how we behave and feel.

The model says that our inner voice has two states:

  1. Positive; and
  2. Negative.

Your inner voice affects how you view yourself (we will represent that state with the letter “I” ) and how you view others (we will represent that with the letter “U”)

For example, if you have a positive view of yourself ( I+) and a negative view of a co-worker (O-), in most interaction you will tend to take a judgmental stance with them. You will hear their words and often miss what they intend to say.

We can use the shorthand “I+ O-” to represent that state.

The ideal state is to have a positive view of yourself (I+) and others (O+). In and “I+ O+” state, you will refrain from being judgmental and really seek to connect with the person.

The Attitude is Everything lesson is just one of the add-on modules to our Effective Workplace Relationship webinar and in class session. A this time our in class footprint is limited to Canada. However the lesson is also a part of our Diversity & Sensitivity Training on demand course.

In the context of the webinar, in class, and on demand session, we explore a simple self-administered behavior modification model for moving from any other state to “I+ O+”, the ideal state.

Diversity & Sensitivity  Training webinars for Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, Nevada, Arizona,Washington, Virginia, Los Angeles.

Sensitivity Training for Toronto, Ottawa, London, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Halifax.


Leading a Virtual Team: Getting Started – Part 1


There are three things to keep in mind when starting a project:

First,  Put relationships before tasks . After someone has stepped forward to be apart of your project, it is tempting to jump right into talking about tasks and outcomes. After all, their presence with you feels like a license to get started right into the heart of things. However, that’s a good way to foster resentment and dysfunction in the present and with future interactions.

Stepping into talking about tasks is driven by the assumption that others think as we do. Then when others turn out not to be the way you are, it is natural to get resentful—after all, you had assumptions, and your assumptions were challenged.

It is also true that people have to connect with others on some personal level if they wish to generate attachments or commitments.

And when tasks require that you ask big things of people with whom you have little prior relationship, you risk generating opposition. When asking “Who does she think she is, assuming we can drop everything to produce that in just three days?”

The bottom line is if you jump into task execution without getting to know each other at least a little, you are asking for trouble.

Effective Sensitivity Training


The course is not about changing your personality. In a free and democratic society, no one has a right to tell you what to think. Yet, powerful productive relationships are build on solid boundaries that are known and understood. Therefore, the goal of all our sessions is to get you thinking about and actively setting boundaries on your own behavior.

Our trained facilitators will get you thinking about the values that drive your choices as well as creating a visual representation of boundaries that help you and the people you work with get the job done.

If you are a leader or teacher we’ll help you think critically about your beliefs and expectations of people, students, or situations outside your comfort zone. We’ll help you to lead change effectively.

If you are a student or an employee with no direct reports, we’ll get you thinking impact with respect to your choices. You never have to walk on eggshells or revert to the pejorative construct of political correctness. We will ask you rather to dispassionately reflect on our current scientific understanding of how labels and words drive behavior.

Regardless of where you sit in the organizational hierarchy or classroom, we encourage you to let go of the mythical beliefs surrounding various people groups and make choices driven purely by evidence and a value of difference.

Contact us now at 866.377.0165 to book a session or set up a time to discuss your needs.