Violence Free Workplace Policy
Revision Date: 8/21/2002
Responsible Office: Human Resources Office
Reference: University of Louisiana System, Policy M-11, Board Rule Chapter 3, Section XIX
CONDUCT TO MINIMIZE VIOLENCE
Follow these suggestions in your daily interactions with people to defuse potentially violent situations. If at any time a person’s behavior starts to escalate beyond your comfort zone, withdraw from the situation.
- Project calmness; move and speak slowly, quietly, and confidently.
- Be a good listener; encourage the person to talk, and listen patiently.
- Focus your attention on the other person to demonstrate your interest in what he/she has to say.
- Maintain a relaxed yet attentive posture and position yourself at an angle rather than directly in front of the other person.
- Acknowledge the person’s feelings by gestures such as nodding your head.
- Ask the person to move to a less public, quiet area, if appropriate.
- Establish ground rules if unreasonable behavior persists. Calmly describe the consequences of any violent behavior.
- Use delaying tactics which will give the person time to calm down. For example, offer a drink of water (in a disposable cup).
- Be reassuring and point out choices. Identify and deal with specific issues.
- Accept criticism in a professional manner.
- Ask for his/her recommendations. Repeat back to him/her what you feel he/she is requesting of you.
- Position yourself so that a visitor cannot block your access to an exit.
- Make false statements or promises you cannot keep.
- Try to impart a lot of technical or complicated information when emotions are high.
- Take sides or agree with distortions.
- Invade the individual’s personal space. Make sure there is a space of 3' to 6' between the person and you.
- Use styles of communication which generate hostility such as apathy, brush off, coldness, condescension, robotism, going strictly by the rules, or giving the run-around.
- Reject all of an individual’s demands from the start.
- Pose in challenging stances such as standing directly opposite someone, hands on hips or crossing your arms. Avoid any physical contact, finger-pointing, or long periods of fixed eye contact.
- Make sudden movements which can be seen as threatening. Notice the tone, volume, and rate of your speech.
- Challenge, threaten, or dare the individual. Never belittle the person or make him/her feel foolish.
- Criticize or act impatiently toward the agitated individual.
- Attempt to bargain with a threatening individual.
- Try to make the situation seem less serious than it is.