The Unlucky 13: Early Warning Signs of Potential Violence at Work
1. Threats: Person makes direct, veiled, or conditional threats of harm.
2. Unreasonable: Person constantly makes slighting references to others. He is never happy with what is going on. He is consistently unreasonable and over reacts to feedback or criticism. He blows everything out of proportion. He is unable to accept criticism of job performance; he has a tendency to take comments personally and turns it into a grudge.
3. Intimidation and control-oriented: Person feels a need to constantly force their opinion on others. He has a compulsive need to control others. He uses intimidation of others to get his way (can be physical or verbal intimidation).e.g., fear tactics, threats, harassing behaviors including phone calls, stalking, etc.
4. Paranoid: Person thinks other employees are out to get them. She thinks there is a conspiracy to all functions of society. She feels persecuted or a victim of injustice.
5. Irresponsible: Person doesn't take responsibility for any of their behaviors or faults or mistakes; it's always someone else's fault. Employee does not accept responsibility for own actions; makes excuses; blames others, the company, the system for problems, errors, and disruptive behaviors, etc.
6. Angry, argumentative, and lacks impulse control: Person has many hate and anger issues on and off the job with co-workers, family, friends, or the government. He is frequently involved in confrontations, is belligerent, and argues with others including supervisors, co-workers, neighbors, etc. He has low impulse control; is frequently involved in arguments and altercations; physically slams things, doors, etc.; pounds fist or is verbally demonstrative; and uses inappropriate language.
7. Antisocial behaviors: Has fascination with violence and acceptance of violence as a way to handle situations; Person applauds violent acts portrayed in the media such as racial incidents, domestic violence, shooting sprees, executions etc. He might have had trouble with the law, even just a minor incident. He is fascinated with the killing power of weapons and their destructive effect on people coupled with extreme interest in guns, particularly semi-automatic or automatic weapons. Has a pattern of behavior that demonstrates a disregard for the rights of others.
8. Vindictive: Person makes statements like "he will get his" or "what comes around goes around" or "one of these days I'll have my say." She often verbalizes hope for something to happen to the person against whom the employee has a grudge.
9. Bizarre and weird behavior: Person is quirky, strange, considered weird, and behaves in unusual manner. Their presence makes others feel uneasy and uncomfortable.
10. Desperation: Person is experiencing extreme desperation with recent family, financial, or personal problems.
11. Obsessive compulsive behavior: Person has obsessive involvement with the job, particularly when no apparent outside interests exists; has a romantic obsession with co-worker who has no interest in him/her; suffers from other forms of obsessions. May have a zealous interest on a specific topic; may have perfectionist tendencies.
12. Substance abuse: Person has signs of alcohol and/or drug abuse.
13. Chronic depression: Person displays chronic signs of depression, loss of interest and confidence in life or work, is lethargic, lacks energy, particularly when this is a significant change in behavior.
Source: Reprint permission granted only to "Same-Day Surgery." National Institute for Prevention of Workplace Violence, Lake Forest, CA. For more information on the "Early Warning Signs of Potential Violence at Work" and appropriate intervention techniques, visit www.Workplaceviolence911.com, the leading site on the Internet for comprehensive information on workplace violence, or contact Barry Nixon at Barry@wvp911.com or (949) 770-5264.