Earlier today (6/5/2017), there was a deadly shooting at a workplace in Orlando, Florida. A disgruntled employee killed himself and five others. Our hearts go out to the victims and their loved ones. The mayor of the city requested that people speak up if they notice unusual behavior at work. So what steps should we take to protect ourselves and others in the workplace?
When in doubt, seek help. If you are faced with a disgruntled employee who is acting out or speaking erratically, don’t wait. Seek help immediately by contacting the police or your HR representative.
If an employee who is usually patient and pleasant can’t seem to control his/her anger, don’t turn the other cheek. Step away and let HR know. It is better to let the company know so that the employee may receive necessary help.
Sometimes, employees act like raging bulls, becoming unglued in a fit of violence. They benefit from coaching or from some time off. For those cases that are not emergent, requiring the immediate guidance of HR or of the police, take note of the ways that you may be able to help.
If you have a good relationship with your colleague, and you do not feel that the colleague is a danger to himself or others, then take steps to personally calm him down and win his confidence.
Strategy to Help a Colleague Who is Not a Danger to Himself or Others
You: Justin, I can see you’re having a tough time lately. I went through something like this a while back. If you’d like, I’ll tell you what I learned that pulled me through.
Justin: I don’t think you know how overworked and overwhelmed I feel. I’m sorry for blowing up at you yesterday.
You: I do understand, but there are things you can do to regain control. For instance:
Tip: Never sit idly if you are concerned about the safety of a colleague or of yourself. Speak with HR or call the police, depending on the severity of the situation. It is better to be proactive and to stay safe than to second-guess the need to ask for help.
Copyright© 2017 Amy Cooper Hakim