Most workplace conflicts and most organizational transitions do not expose you to physical danger. Some do. If the available evidence indicates the possibility of actual physical danger to you, take steps to avoid the dangerous situation.

Risking doesn’t mean behaving foolishly or dangerously. Don’t stand in front of oncoming traffic. Don’t picnic on railroad tracks. Don’t provoke someone who is wielding a stiletto. That’s no way to achieve success and fulfillment. You are smart to avoid dangerous, flesh-tearing situations.

Avoid dangerous situations unless you can meet three specific conditions: training, equipment, and incentive. For example, members of the bomb squad deliberately place themselves in dangerous situations. When they go to work, their flesh can be torn. They have sufficient training, effective equipment, and substantial incentive to handle explosive devices. Only when all three conditions have been met do they proceed into dangerous situations.

Most of your adversaries at work are not flesh-tearing people. However, some may be. If you work with someone who has a recent history of assault or who brandishes a stiletto, avoid that person. You’re smart to stay away from dangerous people unless you have training, equipment, and incentive.

Dangerous people have no business working in your organization unless they are receiving counseling for anger management. Your employer is required by law to provide a safe working environment for you and each of your co-workers.

Through human resources departments, many organizations have already established procedures to prevent workplace violence and to deal with workplace bullies. Your organization’s employee assistance program can provide the necessary help. Find out what your organization’s confidential reporting mechanisms are. Take advantage of those procedures to reduce the possibility of danger to you and to your co-workers.

If leaders in your organization have not developed procedures for preventing violence, you and your organization are vulnerable. Invite your organization’s risk manager to visit this web site for help to make your workplace safer for you and your co-workers.

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