Using this book to improve your workplace…
There is no such thing as a supervisor, leader or manager who cannot become more effective. There is no such thing as a workplace that cannot be improved for all concerned. If you didn’t believe that you wouldn’t be reading this.
So, where do you start?
Start with yourself. Eighty percent of the reasons people leave jobs are things that supervisors and managers have control of. Supervisors have a direct and final influence over two of the three most toxic workplace elements that incubate violence (Abusive Supervision and Toleration of Bullying). Of the third, Perception of Injustice, supervisors have direct control over the most important subcategory: Interactional (or interpersonal) Injustice.
Reducing the risk of workplace violence has to begin where much of the risk is generated: The management habits, skills and priorities of supervisors.
Human beings are universally a bundle of biases. Among the most common are biases in which we over-estimate our skills and remember only the events that confirm our self view. It’s a proverb, but none-the-less true: Changing our external environment begins with changing our internal environment. Is it possible that your supervisory style, in particular the way you interact with your employees, could be improved to be more engaging? If you spent just a bit more time planning your discipline/correction, could it become more productive and team-building? Are you taking time to demonstrate consideration to your employees? Are you bringing your best game to the workplace with you, or coasting? Consider the return on investment: If by implementing just two or three of the strategies suggested here you could prevent a single incident of workplace violence, wouldn’t that be worth it?
Then, take a good, critical look at your workplace. How is morale’ generally? What is the level of engagement? Is incivility tolerated? Are you aware of any bullying at any level? Has it been a “frog in the kettle” kind of progression, where it has degraded incrementally over time, but you have simply adapted to a series of “new normals?” Are there company policies, procedures or practices that generate resentment, contribute to a perception of injustice, or otherwise degrade morale’ and engagement?
It’s possible that you could be asking yourself these questions and feel overwhelmed about where to begin. If so, I point you to wise words from the 60’s singer Joan Baez, “Action is the antidote to despair.” Remember, we don’t put off tasks…we put off starting them. Think about just one thing you can do, one behavior you can execute in less than 30 seconds today, and do it. Then do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next until you have established a habit. Then choose another and follow the same strategy. Andy Core, a sought-after motivational speaker and personal friend of mine put it best in the title of his book, “Change Your Day, Not Your Life”