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Small Business Digest



As Economy Continues To Falter, Workplace Rage Growing

Despite its increasing presence in American offices and factories, many small business executives do not believe it could happen to their firms.

Particularly as the nation’s unemployment rolls continue to be high the chances of such an incident happening to any business is rising.

For professional, personal and worker sakes, it is important that managers be alert to signs of an employee’s descent into violence.

Lighting the fuse that detonates the time bomb

Employees are generally powerless when it comes to controlling the events that shape their working experience.  More than three quarters of a person’s critical interactions are with people over whom one has no leverage. Accomplishment of work goals move forward through a system of trade-offs and a continuous process of negotiation.  Many employees do not possess these skills, so he or she may be in a constant condition of frustration.  It doesn’t take much to set him or her off.

Some experts call this “the time bomb in the workplace.”

DeAnnne Rosenberg, author of From Rage to Resolution highlights some of the situations which can possibly detonate that time bomb:

            ● a threat to the person’s continued employment

            ● a belief that the person was cheated out of a deserved promotion or raise

            ● a concern brought to the boss that was greeted with disparagement

            ● a significant act of disrespect

            ● a major change to the work environment about which the person wasn’t

consulted or warned.

While not necessarily confined to this group, recent studies released by the FBI profilers in Quantico, Va., have described those most likely to become violent in the work situation as male, white, between the ages of 25 and 53, live alone, are loners, maintain a collection of guns or knives and talk about weapons quite a bit.

Adds Rosenberg, what actually triggers the hostility of these people comes from two main sources and three secondary sources:

● The person feels under attack and in great danger;

● The person is experiencing the frustration of unmet, maybe even unspoken expectations;

● The person is on physic modifiers such as drugs or alcohol

●The person believes he has been taken advantage of one too many times;

● The person is under extreme pressure, feels cornered and sees no possible way out of his predicament.

Rosenberg suggests that management staffs treat their people with respect, listening to them when they express their concerns, and assisting them in finding a resolution to those concerns.

This, she says, will alleviate worry about that ticking time bomb.  On the other hand, if managers believe that their agendas are far more important than those of their staff members, the organization may be in for a difficult time. 

She says employees are masters at retaliation against stupid, inept and thoughtless bosses.  For this reason and as a matter of personal safety, a management team needs to recognize that it can succeed only if the employees succeed.  

Finally, she says, a little consideration and listening will go a long way in avoiding problems.

For more information visit Rosenberg’s Web site and blog at: and

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