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This section is filled with ideas, tips and tools on topics ranging from Assisting Victims at Work to Dealing with Employees Who Batter. Designed to touch upon cheap led light bulbs
the most common-and sensitive-issues every organization faces.
Dos & Don'ts to Minimize Violence
dos&dontstominimizeviolence.doc [ Download
Violence can erupt unexpectedly, even at work. But sometimes, our personal behavior can help to minimize or de-escalate potentially violent situations. Here are a few suggestions of ways we can decrease the likelihood of a co-worker or customer (or partner of an employee) becoming violent. Remember—if at any time a person's behavior starts to escalate beyond your comfort zone, disengage.
- Project calmness—move and speak slowly, quietly, and confidently.
- Be an empathetic listener—encourage the person to talk and listen patiently.
- Focus your attention on the other person to let him/her know you are interested in what he/she has to say.
- Maintain a relaxed yet attentive posture and position yourself at a “right angle” rather than directly in front of the other person.
- Acknowledge the person's feelings. Indicate that you see he or she is quite upset.
- Ask for small, specific favors, such as asking the person to move to a quieter area.
- Establish ground rules if unreasonable behavior persists. Calmly describe the consequences of any violent behavior.
- Use delay tactics, which will give the person time to calm down. For example, offer a drink of water (in a disposable cup—a glass could be used as a weapon).
- Be reassuring and point out choices. Break big problems into smaller, more manageable problems.
- Accept criticism in a positive way. When complaints might be true, use statements like, “You're probably right,” or “That was my fault.” If the criticism seems unwarranted, ask clarifying questions.
- Ask for his or her recommendations. Repeat back to him/her what you think he/she is requesting of you.
- Arrange yourself so a visitor cannot block your access to an exit. If possible, also try to arrange yourself so that the agitated person has an “out” as well.
- Arrange your desk and work area so that objects such as pens, staplers, paperweights, envelope openers, etc., cannot be used as weapons against you.
- Use styles of communication that generate hostility such as apathy, a “brush off," coldness, condescension, strictly going “by the rules,” or giving someone the run-around.
- Reject all of the complainant's demands from the start.
- Pose in challenging stances such as standing directly opposite someone, hands on hips or crossing your arms.
- Make any physical contact with the complainant, or engage in activities such as finger-pointing or long periods of fixed eye contact.
- Make sudden movements that can be seen as threatening. Notice the tone, volume, and rate of your speech.
- Challenge, threaten, or dare the individual, belittle the person, or attempt to make him/her look foolish.
- Criticize or act impatiently toward the agitated individual.
- Attempt to bargain with a threatening individual.
- Try to make the situation seem less serious than it is (e.g., "Hey Joe, nothing's really that bad—why are you so upset about such a small thing?")
- Make false statements or promises you cannot keep.
- Try to impart a lot of technical or complicated information when emotions are high.
- Take sides or agree with distortions
- Invade the individual's personal space. Make sure there is a space of 3' to 6' between you and the other person.