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With recent events, it is good that all of us think about being prepared to handle the potential for workplace violence.  In the best of all possible worlds, we would be able to monitor, involve critical parties, and avoid any harm.  

I suppose if you work over 25 or 30 years, it is reasonable to think that you may encounter one awful personnel situation in your own department.    It certainly is a blessing if you can avoid those situations, but the rarity of the event leaves most of us with little or no experience to rely on to recognize the potential of a harmful situation.  And yes, that potential can occur in our own IT departments.  My experience is that Human Resource departments can also be challenged about what to do; there is no manual and we are all working with the latest research and reports.

With that, I've tried to post my own observations of "red flags" in my blog posted here:  Working with People with Issues.  I've posted some things I've learned, those things that I wish I would have known up front.

If you have additional ideas, please respond on the blog.  Perhaps we can all use this to help each other and do what we can to keep safe.

Theresa Rowe
Chief Information Officer
Oakland University
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One resource my martial arts friends (and Oprah) recommend is Gavin de Becker's "Gift of Fear", which includes a chapter specifically on workplace violence. There are some serious criticisms (blaming the victim key among them), but still definitely worth a read for personal safety and leadership reasons. A review snippet:

In this empowering book, Gavin de Becker, the man Oprah Winfrey calls the nation's leading expert on violent behavior, shows you how to spot even subtle signs of danger—before it's too late. Shattering the myth that most violent acts are unpredictable, de Becker, whose clients include top Hollywood stars and government agencies, offers specific ways to protect yourself and those you love, to act when approached by a stranger...when you should fear someone close to you...what to do if you are being to uncover the source of anonymous threats or phone calls...the biggest mistake you can make with a threatening person...and more. Learn to spot the danger signals others miss. It might just save your life.



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