This is the second part of this series on attitudes that encourage workplace violence (WPV) from employers, and sometimes from employees but not often. Have you spotted any signs within your company yet that you are doing any of these?
- Supervisors playing favorites:
This may sound contradictory to the statement in the first post about disparate treatment. But it’s not. There are times, when a manager will get too friendly with an employee. Unfortunately it becomes all too clear to the rest of the employees, despite what upper management see’s, or doesn’t see may be more truthful. Many times the employee is simply playing the manager trying to get whatever they can for as long as they can. They have no real interest in the supervisor’s friendship; they just want the perqs that come with it.
The manager and employee may also be involved in a romantic relationship, which is dangerous enough in the workplace. In this case, who do you trust more an employee who has been with the company for a while or the person you happen to be dating? Unfortunately, most people can’t separate work and private lives when dating. And that can be fatal.
Even if the romantic relationship is a fantasy in the minds of either one. I’ve seen several instances of both men and women making up relationships in their minds between themselves and their managers or subordinates. And if this fantasy gets out of control… then it can become deadly for more than just those two i.e. others being injured during an angry rage (and don’t just think firearms but also wrenches, coffee cups, and etc.).
Are you scratching your head wondering what CHH is? It stands for the reason that many businesses get hit with incidents of WPV. I have heard so many news stories where victims and other people have stated this phrase emphatically. I didn’t think it could happen here.
The Can’t Happen Here attitude is the most dangerous one that a business, managers, and employees can have. If they have the perception that WPV can’t happen in their business, it’s apparent, at least to me, that they aren’t prepared for it when it does occur. Therefore they haven’t made, or followed through on, any contingency plans to prevent or lessen the risk.
When the ugly specter of WPV rears its foul head is it any wonder that they are caught unaware and are in a disbelieving and extreme shock over it, fatal or not? They are living in a fantasy Lalas Land where everyone treats everyone with respect & dignity which means no one ever gets mad at someone else and the anger overflows.
Which, I’m sorry to tell them, is not realistic. Even in the most progressive and family oriented companies it happens. With this attitude it’s only a matter of time until something does happen. Which thereby opens them up for litigation, which can cost far more than planning for it.
These businesses put tons of lip service into the fact that they are doing things to prevent WPV. They pay a consultant thousands of dollars, at the least, to write a plan. Then they accept it, file it away, and ignore the potential threat. Then when they do need it, it is so far out of date… it is useless.
Basically, this acronym stands for Not Invented Here. Meaning that a company refuses to accept any ideas, recommendations, or suggestions from their own employees. It has to be tried and true in another company before they will adopt it. And many times, they adopt it without making any tweaks, or even minor changes, and it flops miserably.
This is usually a hallmark of an old style company that follows the Major Frank Burns theory of change (“If we do that someone might get in trouble!”. They are stolid and refuse to change unless pulled kicking and screaming into whatever innovation, and century. Many security companies are like this, sticking to and hiding behind what they consider irrefutable best practices and sacred cows.
Some companies are stuck in the 19th century when it comes to trusting their employees to have good ideas. They don’t believe that their employees or front line/field managers can’t have any ideas that are worth even investigating. I know that sounds absurd, but it is true. One example I can cite is, once again, the security industry. 99% of the time, if an hourly officer has a good idea; it is ignored by their supervisor or manager. Why, you may ask? “They are only a guard what the hell do they know!”
Yes, I know for a fact this happens…from personal experience with Wells Fargo Guard Services in the late 80s and other examples in mid-00’s. I was invited to help edit a security officer training manual for a general security audience. When trying to get permission from the district manager, I was told succinctly “you’re only an f******guard and don’t even have a degree. What the hell do you know?”
While I’ve encountered NIH many times not every time was it against me. I’ve lost good officers because the branch manager didn’t think the officers knew s*** and shouldn’t make such idiotic suggestions. The officers then left and made an impact somewhere else.
Next week will be the last post in this series. I didn’t use perception in this post, but the innuendo was there (5 times) nonetheless. Look for the last section next week.
Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues. You can follow him on http://www.facebook.com/oneistoomany or @robertsollars2 on twitter.
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear