Helping Your Team Feel Safe at Work
How do you make your staff feel safe and secure at work?
Most people think of The Karate Kid or Bruce Lee when they consider self-defence and conflict resolution courses. While for some, this is a great place to start, helping people feel safe at work is more than teaching your team how to ‘wax on-wax off’ and the crane kick; it is about education and empowering staff to feel safe and secure at work.
The keys to achieving this is learning tools and techniques to de-escalate, defuse, and if necessary defend yourself in threatening situations.
Regardless of whether you work within an office or a customer facing role, in a school, sporting environment or mine, it is likely that at some time in your career or personal life, you have dealt with an aggressive person; be it an angry customer during a sale, a disgruntled employee, a co-worker or a driver who feels they own the road.
As we approach the Christmas holidays and the stress this time of year brings for many people, now is the time to consider how prepared your team is to respond to an aggressive situation.
Prevention is always better than the cure
When seeking to dealing with aggressive situations, it is important to consider both verbal and nonverbal communication methods. Empower your team with the following communication techniques* to help prevent situations from escalating:
- PRACTICE ACTIVE LISTENING. Be certain to engage and be thoughtfully committed to the conversation.
- BE EMPATHETIC. Try relating to the other person; be aware of his or her verbal and nonverbal feelings, emotions, and desires.
- SPEAK CALMLY AND SOFTLY. Speak with confidence and self-assurance. As you communicate, speak with a quiet, soothing, and nurturing voice.
- BE AWARE OF YOUR DEMEANOUR. Be attentive to your personal verbal and nonverbal messages being communicated.
- BE EXPLICIT. Be direct and clear when communicating important information. Leave little room for confusion or doubt.
- BE SUPPORTIVE. Avoid judgemental or critical statements. Provide encouraging statements and support when needed.
- BE AWARE OF YOUR PERSONAL LIMITATIONS. Avoid engaging in environments that you do not feel confident or lack the skills with which to interact. Do not hesitate to remove yourself from environments that you feel unqualified to engage in.
- ALWAYS REASSURE. Always provide the reassurance of another’s self-worth and personal value; even when they are acting out. Focus on trying to remove any doubts, fears, or insecurities the other person maybe experiencing.
- BE MINDFUL. When engaging with others, be mindful and aware of your personal demeanour. Consider using breathing techniques, or mindful meditation if you feel anxious when engaging with other people, or when responding to an escalating situation.