An Act of Workplace Violence

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An Act of Workplace Violence

Leadership carries with itself many benefits. Conversely, leadership also possesses many demands and challenges. According to Clark (1997), ”leadership’s main function is to produce movement and constructive or adaptive change through processes, such as establishing direction through visioning, aligning people, motivating, and inspiring” (p. 1). Unquestionably, this is a monumental task by any standard. Moreover, many expect leaders to perform these functions perfectly. Leaders like all of us, however, make errors. Lapses in good judgment occur.

Negative Leadership Behavior

A colleague, Mary Doe, borrowed a glass bowl for office use. After returning from lunch she picked up the bag containing the bowl. Looking inside saw the glass bowl broken into pebble size pieces. Beatriz asked others what had happened; no one had any ideas.

The next day I saw my direct supervisor, Johana, and although she was aware of the situation Johana said not a word to me regarding what had occurred. Later that day, Johana’s supervisor, Romea was in the office. I spoke to Romea who was unaware of the event and said it would be discussed at the next staff meeting. I waited one month but it was never discussed at the staff meetings nor did Romea or Johana ever speak with me about this incident.

I then met with my department manager, Beatriz and detailed the incident. Beatriz immediately contacted the Security Division. Security indicated the incident met all the criteria for workplace violence and launched an investigation. The security report indicated that it was their belief that Johana had intentionally broken my bowl but without definitive proof no disciplinary action against Johana was taken.

AN ACT OF WORKPLACE VIOLENCE 3

Analysis of Leadership Behavior

The breaking of the bowl was an act of intimidation and according to Waddington, Badger and Bull (2005), “…violence, threats and intimidation experienced in the workplace.”(p. 141) are included in the definition of workplace violence. This bullying resulted in the loss of the sense of safety at work. Safety is one of the basic needs according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Moran, 2009). It is the responsibility of the leader to create a safe environment for staff so that all efforts are focused on the project at hand. Blanca failed to create such an environment.

A leader should seek to inspire and motivate others.

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