It’s important to understand the warning signs that a worker might be headed for violent behavior. Here’s a list of stress factors, cues, and signals that many psychologists believe may indicate potential for violent behavior in the workplace. Of course, just how significant any of these factors may be will depend on your situation:
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- Fascination with (not simply ownership of) weapons.
- Alcohol or drug abuse.
- Severe stress, possibly from personal problems such as divorce or bankruptcy.
- Anguish over a pending or recent demotion, termination, or corporate downsizing.
- Poor response to a recent negative performance review.
- Decreased or inconsistent job performance.
- Increase in noncompliance with company rules and procedures.
- History of violent incidents, threats, or reckless or antisocial behavior.
- References to notorious incidents of workplace violence or mass shootings.
- Psychological deterioration, such as bizarre behavior or sudden unreliability.
- Social isolation or poor peer relationships.
- Incidents of inappropriately crossing a co-worker’s or supervisor’s physical boundaries, such as following someone to the parking lot or home, making calls to a supervisor’s home, or going into someone’s office with a grievance too many times.
- Poor personal hygiene, especially deteriorated hygiene.
- Other major personality changes, such as appearing inappropriately withdrawn or agitated, or seeming to be out of touch with reality.