Rationalizations for ignoring warning signs

Just like a narcissist we just ignore the warning signs of workplace violence (WPV). This in turn leads directly to being responsible for carnage and destruction within our businesses, and they have no excuse for not being reported as potential problems.

Countless rationalizations are used by employees and employers alike that prevent the reporting of co-workers, friends, loved ones, & others who may be on the edge of committing violence…either at the workplace or away from it somewhere else just as deadly, think other businesses, home, and other locations.

You, the employer, needs to know if an employee begins acting differently for any reason. Whether it is after a serious incident in their personal life (Phoenix, AZ. Shell C-Store, a man upset by his mother’s passing committed suicide by cop after threatening and injuring customers, January 17 2018) or where they work doesn’t matter…both can impact your business, read employment as well, adversely.

The employer rarely realizes this, unless a co-worker trusts management enough to report it. In most circumstances, just because someone is beginning to loosen up after a harsh stretch for them or their family could be a reason to worry.

You may already know this, because I have nagged about it for decades, but there are always warning signs before someone perpetrates an incident. Whether they are subtle, which sometimes are nearly invisible, or not they are there. Unfortunately, there is always an excuse why the person and signs weren’t reported.

The incidents that I record over the course of the year usually give me as much information as I need for reference points to deliver a presentation. The news reports will give me several warning signs to the perpetrator even if they don’t realize them as such. If I can gather that information from media reports how can anyone around a troubled Co-worker/student miss those signs?

The answers are relatively simple if you look at it as a simple issue and not convoluted or complicated. It is probably too simple to be accepted by most people, including law enforcement:

It is our choice to either act upon or ignore those signs

Listed here are some of those rationalizations that you may see or tell yourself about someone you know, co-worker, or someone a loved one may know. And unfortunately, ignoring them could lead to an injury, psychological or physical, or even worse…death. The pronoun he is written although it can easily be attributed to women who perpetrate WPV as well;

  • He was just going through a tough time
  • He’ll come out of it
  • He’s not that kind
  • He would never do something like that
  • He’s not capable of doing that
  • He’s got problems, who doesn’t??
  • I don’t want to get him in trouble
  • I don’t want to get involved
  • It’s not my problem
  • Why should I care what happens to him? I don’t like him
  • I hate this place, why should I warn them?
  • This company needs a wake-up call anyway
  • They won’t listen to me

Should I continue with these narcissistic rationalizations for not reporting someone? We all know and have heard a myriad of these in our working lives and careers. Ah, but employees are not the only ones at fault here either. It all comes down to the most dangerous attitude a business can have towards WPV. CHH.

The Can’t Happen Here attitude is one that will cause more financial loss and distress amongst managers and the C-suite than any other. Basically those three words say it all…complete and total denial. It also places at the top of the list of attitudes that can get people killed while at, or because of, work.

Employer justifications:

  • I don’t have time to talk to them all the time; I’ve got others to coach/motivate/work with
  • That kind of stuff Can’t Happen Here. We pay & treat them well
  • We can’t worry about that. Let other company’s come up with answers first before we do anything
  • I’m not going to coddle them
  • I’ll get into trouble for profiling them as trouble-maker
  • I’ll get into trouble for being a bully & picking on them
  • I’ll tell HR and let them handle it
  • They’re a good Joe, they’ll work it out themselves
  • If we discipline (suspend or terminate, it’ll slow down production
  • We don’t have time for that crap Lethem work it out themselves

Any of those sound familiar? In my nearly 35 years in the security field I’ve heard every single one of them. Sometimes it worked out. Other times the employee, even a valued one, exploded because of a personal issue that was dogging them. And had been for days, weeks, months, and in several cases years. The company finally took action…after an incident. Fortunately, none ended with a serious injury or fatality.

You may think that these justifications/excuses are a prime example of a bad company. You may think that all good managers would see the signs and not allow the attitudes that foster WPV. But many times the signs are so subtle that you have to know the employee to realize if there is really a problem.

Then again, you can simply make an excuse and justify your inaction for it and ignore it. Will it bite you in the butt like a rabid dog or rabbit? More than likely yes. And then you’ll be in deep financial trouble, either from bad publicity, financial expenditures, or the lawsuit forcing you out of business, or possibly all of those and more.

“Excuses stop us from improving our self and from doing what needs to be done. They only lead to failure, not success”

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues with time tested and proven ideas. You can follow him on his upcoming new website www.robertdsollars.com or twitter@robertsollars2.

                                    I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s