Workplace violence and terrorism are growing concerns in many places. Sudden violence has morphed into a realistic, life-threatening possibility for most people. There were 500 workplace homicides in the United States in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are couple of signs of a workplace shooter you can look out for to better prevent workplace violence.
While one can never fully eradicate this threat, there are certain ways it can be detected at an early stage, and hopefully, stopped. Certain behavior and personality traits may foreshadow trouble. Below are five signs that one should never ignore at work.
1. Confrontational Personality
Consistent confrontational behavior can disturb the culture and environment of a workplace. A confrontational, controlling personality can lead to bullying behavior, which is dangerous and must not be ignored. A temperament of this nature is usually considered highly unstable and can easily turn into extreme violence at any time.
This should not be confused with a rational anger due to work pressure or personal problems. However, if these conditions persist for longer periods of time, they should be taken with equal seriousness, too.
2. Being Anti-social to a Fault
It’s okay to be an introvert – some people are built that way. But being anti-social to the point where one doesn’t get along with anyone or only has violent or disrespectful things to say about others – that’s a sign of problematic behavior. A person who dislikes everyone around him may also be confrontational and can have negative effects on a workplace. These traits can lead to arguments, harassment, and violence, so co-workers and supervisors should take note.
3. Deteriorating Work Performance
This important indicator can be judged rather easily. If a colleague had a great record of work performance, and things go downhill, it should be taken seriously. The origin of the change should be identified before making conclusions. Maybe the work has upgraded a little, and he or she may be having difficulty adjusting to the changes. That’s all fine. However, if a person’s performance is slowing down after something like a workplace fight or an episode of public humiliation, the reason may be more serious and must be handled appropriately.
4. Obsessive Paranoia
While professional jealousies are nothing out of the ordinary in workplaces, when it builds into an obsession, it becomes dangerous. The paranoia that people are conspiring against a person, while in reality, everything is normal, can be one of the first signs of troubling behavior. It could also be a psychological condition. One early sign of paranoia is a belief that he or she is being treated unfairly. While there may be truth in an isolated case, consistent complaints of this type can suggest a bigger issue.
5. Obsession with Weapons
One of the biggest signs of a workplace shooter is an obsession with weapons. This factor should not be confused with a casual hobby or viewed through a political lens, but judged rationally. Troubling signs could include bringing a weapon to the workplace undetected or obsessively discussing weapons without being prompted. Any sign of this nature is no small thing and must immediately be reported.
Alertness and early action are the best defense against violent incidents. You must remain alert and observant of the environment around you. If you really feel that your concerns have substantive truth to them, approach your management and get things sorted out without delay. Be extremely rational, though. Ask other people’s opinions, too; maybe they have discussed it with the troubled colleague or have more insight on his or her behavior. Take action or approach management only when you have a substantive reason to do so. Remember, it could be someone’s career on the line.