Attitudes that can Foster WPV

by todaystrainingblog

We have covered the warning signs of an individual who may ‘go off the deep end’ and perpetrate an incident of workplace violence (WPV). However, there are things that employers do that actually contribute to an employee perpetrating an incident.
Read these attitudes dealing with this subject and see if you or your company actually commits any of them. And a caveat to add. All of the attitudes that I’m about to write about can actually just be in the mind of the employee. If that is the case, then you may have a bigger issue to deal with in addition to a WPV incident. One term I coined more than a quarter century ago adds credence to this.
Perception is Reality. All that really matters is that the employee, whoever they may be, male or female, recognizes it as real. Whatever they perceive to be real is real to them. And that could be a significant issue in and of itself.
We’ve learned to recognize the signs and build security systems and facilities to prevent it. We’ve written policies & procedures and given new benefits to employees to combat it. We’ve spent immeasurable dollars in trying to protect against an incident. But we have failed in 2 critical ways. We still ignore the warning signs and contribute with these attitudes.
Is this a definitive list of attitudes that can lead an employee towards being violent or disruptive in the workplace? No. So how do you know what to look out for and train your supervisors and managers against? Read these and learn them. From there create your own list and then watch out for those items. Every industry is different, therefore it’s imperative that you know your industry AND your employees.

Perceived disparate treatment
That word pops up yet again, perceived. This is one of the big ones that employee’s will see. Now while it is not always true, we do treat employees differently. And that’s not always a bad thing. In order to be a good supervisor/manager you need to know your employees and know how to treat each one.
Some employees are slower to learn, hard headed, stubborn, or just plain lazy. In order to get the best out of each and every one you have to deal effectively with everyone’s personality. And while that may not be totally feasible in a union environment, you have to know how to do it.
The supervisors ‘pet’ will receive better hours, pay, perqs, and more lenient application of rules. Now do you necessarily want them to be a pet? No, but they have given everything they could have and more for you and the company.
That means that you will treat them differently in appreciation. If they make a mistake after years of faithful service, you’re more likely to overlook it. And when the chance for overtime pops up, they may get first pick. The other employees may not know all the facts and they see that you’re treating your pet better than them.
So, should you start treating everyone the same and not recognize an employee for excellent service or outstanding work? Of course not. Again, learning how to treat each person as an individual is necessary to being a successful manager. Will it make some people mad and upset at you? Of course it will, but then again you have to learn how to handle that too.

As I stated above, these attitudes we are discussing can cause an employee to ‘go off’ at any time. Remember, it’s all about their perception of what’s happening. If they perceive that they are being lied to or useless platitudes talked to them, then in their mind, they are. And there is nothing you can say or do, at least immediately, to counteract it.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace violence prevention and other security issues. With numerous interviews, a twice weekly blog, articles, and 2 books he has proven himself in the security field for more than 31 years, and 23 studying workplace violence issues.
He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or through his Facebook page at Here you will see and read about other items related to security as well as WPV.