We think it can’t happen here until it does.
The deadly shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival – an annual event meant to celebrate summer, food and community – and this past weekend two more mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.
These three incidents have been added to a growing list of tragedies perpetrated by disturbed, angry or just plain evil individuals.
It calls on us all to be more aware of our surroundings – whether at large public events or at the smaller venues where we play, where we worship, where we work.
I’ve been pondering what we can all do. Today, while I was watching the news, an FBI agent shared that in deadly shootings in the past there were warning signs. If you see something, say something. You may prevent someone from harming others or from harming his or herself.
A situation comes to mind that happened several years ago when I was working in corporate. A manager who was beloved by all lost two people close to him within a matter of months. He still came to work and he still got things done, but he just didn’t seem to be himself.
Then one day he didn’t come to work. He didn’t call in and he didn’t answer his phone. His leader sent two staff members to his home (bad idea, but more on that later). When no one answered his door, the staff members called police (good idea). Tragically, the manager had taken his own life.
I share this to emphasize the importance of being aware. Pay attention when a coworker’s behavior or demeanor suddenly changes. Check in with them. Isolation can be another warning sign. Maybe they just need someone to talk to. If you’re not comfortable doing that or they resist, consult with your manager or HR. If you see behaviors that are particularly alarming – bullying, threats (verbal or in writing), etc. – contact HR immediately. If you perceive that you or others are in imminent danger, call your security team or the police immediately.
The hotline number for Workplace Violence Prevention and Response is: 1.877.987.3747.
Often we get so busy with the multiple obligations we have – work, home, family – we don’t notice the human interactions around us. Pay attention.
And for leaders (back to my story) if faced with a similar situation, send security or someone trained to deal with such incidents rather than putting staff members in that position.
Please contact me if you need help dealing with any employee issues.