Workplace Violence

The police released a tad more details of the 24 year old Yale technician that had been arrested for the murder of Annie Le, a Yale graduate student. They are looking into if a workplace dispute between Le and the suspect that may have led to her death.

Workplace violence is so common nowadays and from my own experience witnessing out of control coworkers, employers 1) should hire and train managers on how to effectively handle conflicts between workers and 2) managers who know how to deal with difficult workers. People skills is such an essential skill set a manager needs to have because most unresolved conflicts that eventually manifest into something much worse result from the manager not being able to properly handled the situation when it first surfaces.

I once worked with a lady who always, always, for years and years, came in and started her shift 3 hours early. Yes, 3 hours early. She would do her work and then take other people's work because she would run out of things to do by late in the day. So what she got accustomed to do was instead of assigning work to other coworkers (she was the department coordinator), she would take bits of other people's daily assignments. Many, many people complained over the course of many, many years. The managers knew what this lady was doing but looked the other way. Complaining to them was like talking to a brick wall. Eventually, everyone just got sick and tired of complaining and just stayed quiet. Many workers threatened to call human resource but they never follow through and so nothing changed. Then came a new manager and layoffs. The very first layoff that took place about 7 years ago, 5 people were let go on the same day. A few months later, a couple more people were let go. Over a course of 7 years, our department went from 50 workers down to 15. After so many waves of layoffs, everyone was on edge and naturally fearful of losing their jobs. The new manager gave warnings to the "over achiever" coordinator, many verbals and finally a written warning. The coordinator became very hostile at work, crying at times when work that she took from people were taken away from her, slamming things around, threats that she was starting to learn how to shoot a gun, and scary outbursts when confronted by the manager of her behavior. It was insane working in that department. Things slowly turned positive when we hired yet another manager who approached this difficult worker with a tough love kind of attitude. The new manager took the time to talk to the coordinator, had her take anger management and other behavioral classes. And what happened? She improved...alot. So my point is, a good manager makes a big difference in the workplace. One that knows how to resolve conflict and more importantly, one with good communication and people skills.


Jacey said...

I was deeply saddened by what has happened to the bride-to-be, Anne Le. Crimes are everywhere nowadays. The first few weeks when I was in Jacksonville, FL, there was a murder case at Wendy's, which has now been shut down. It was a murder between employees. That was so scary when that incident happened at day time. I agree with you on good communication and people skills. These are necessity for managers.