This is not for the faint of heart, neither is this a story for those with a weak disposition towards directness. Early this morning 11 jobs became available, and several apartments are ready to find a new tenant. This all happened by the acts of a man, according to the news outlets it was the act of a disgruntled man.
I am not blaming guns or gun laws. Guns do not kill people, people kill people; it is that plain and simple. The question becomes why? I have been disgruntled, I have been angry. I decided not to kill anyone, I merely relaxed at home with a game of Minecraft, which can be very therapeutical, let me tell you that. We all have ways of dealing with it and one player (American Express) even has a 5 step program on how to deal with a disgruntled worker (at https://www.americanexpress.com/en-us/business/trends-and-insights/articles/the-5-steps-to-managing-a-disgruntled-employee/).
I particularly like part 4, where we see: “The best policy is to document everything that is taking place. Whatever the disgruntled employee has done that needed to be corrected should be documented, as should how you addressed it. Documenting everything, from warnings and discussions to termination of employment, if you have to go that far, will help to protect you and your company.” and at the core of the article is the matter: ‘It was never your fault!‘, the biggest flaw on it all, the ostrich (or the possum) that is at the heart of the matter. The exact reason why a person became disgruntled in the first place is a lot more important to learn. We all know it is an essential part, but no one wants to address it, not even when dead people are part of the equation.
We can ignore September 2018 with: ‘Woman who killed 3 people at Rite Aid center was a disgruntled worker‘, we can go on February 2019 in Aurora Illinois, September 2012 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 1999 in Atlanta Georgia. This list will go on for a very long time, the issue is that there is a problem of actually dealing with a situation. Managers let issues fester, or more disastrously mislabelling it like: ‘How to Handle the Disgruntled Employee Out to Sabotage Your Business‘. These people started happy, so what made them unhappy? More importantly how did you as a boss screw up your staff members? It might not be you, it might be the bosses of your bosses, but there was a start and not knowing where it started is the first flaw. American Express goes further with: ‘Don’t empower them‘, you see, it is again not your fault! But it is, it is the fault of the manager and that evidence is seen in that they ‘did nothing or far too little to defuse the situation‘, no matter how it is applied, the rules of contract killing (aka ergonomically and silently permanently removing people from any workplace) apply in the same way here:
Get the person apart, start a dialogue. That dialogue can give loads of information, because if one person is disgruntled now, there is every chance that up to 5 people are optionally soon to be disgruntled people as well. So that first dialogue can give a truckload of information of what is happening. In addition you might learn that things are not that bad, but his/her partner walked out and the small frustrations have grown into the real mindboggling issues (for that person) and they are optionally not, they are optionally pathways to solutions
So in the good case you merely had to deal with small frustrations, like software that was never properly tested before you started to sell it, or departmental changes that now imply that people will miss out on commission that they desperately need to pay the mortgage, things you wave away with: ‘That is just how it is!‘ and you never realised that it had real crunching impact on others. There can be a whole range of options, and the dialogue gave way to defusing the issue. One straight relaxed conversation with a bottle of ware, tea or fruit juice (this is the one place where coffee tends to be no help at all).
Dealing terminally with issues is a call at times, a manager merely refers to it as ‘terminating employment‘, but the core is larger, it means optionally replacing that worker, or not. So at that point others get to do the work the ex-employee did. With additional pressure, the risk of additional new disgruntled employees is born, that is how it works and when you realise the pathway, you see how wrong the foundation of the American Express article is. Even as the article started with: ‘Disgruntled employees are something that us entrepreneurs have to deal with, more than we like‘, the failure is seen when we forget is that your workplace created the ‘disgruntled employee‘ in the first place. And it is important to go through the stage, even if it is to make sure that all the right things were done. Proving it was not you or your environment is as important as the setting of the stage of what happens after.
The matter comes to blows when we see the ABC quote: “The shooter, who was a long-term city employee, has also been killed“. The realisation that he was a long-term employee gives light to the change that has happened. Perhaps it was nothing from work, but we need to learn what changed. Guns do not kill people, people kill people and this person decided that going postal was in his case better than delivering mail. Whatever this person did before, learning the trigger is important and there are dozens of articles on how you get rid of the disgruntled worker, learning on how he/she became one is not regarded as important in many of these articles, which I consider to be the biggest flaw of all; especially, as they are about enabling you the entrepreneur on getting on with being one. The flaws seen in that part are often the size of the Grand Canyon.
USA Today (at https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/05/31/police-shooter-opens-fire-virginia-beach-courthouse/1305277001/) is giving us: “The shooting broke out in Building No. 2 of the sprawling Virginia Beach Municipal Center, which includes several city facilities, including the police department. Building 2 houses offices for planning and public works and is adjacent to city hall.“, it is fair that most do not have too much info at present yet the largest issue is going to be the monumental one soon enough. What was the trigger of the event, and it might be that nothing could have prevented it, there was no real blame, yet learning the case is important, the fact that no one is looking at that part is already a flaw. I can understand that the people do not want to hear about ‘comprehension‘ and that is fine, yet it needs to be on the top of every agenda in that place even if it is merely to learn whether this is just one person or if pressures had been brewing in that area for a longer time, giving the risk that this is not a one off occurrence.
Not doing so is like being in bomb disposal and refusing to look at the countdown before you start. A person who goes by the setting of ‘whilst the alarm clock is not going off, there is no boom‘, even when we realise that a 2 second check would give the part that the clock is at 11:56 and the alarm will sound in 193 seconds. The difference between ‘no boom’ and ‘193 seconds’ gives light to what could be done instead of all that has not been done yet when boom time came knocking, and believe me (or not) it makes for all the difference.
It is entrepreneur that also gives light to other ways. When we look at ‘7 Steps to Defuse Workplace Tension‘ (at https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/207680) we see: “Conflict is all around us, and it occurs in every office to varying degrees and with almost every employee” we get some of the goods. The problem is twofold, what one lives with will turn the other player into a pressure cooker, with all the dangers when the pressure valve is not working. I will not go too deep into this, because you should read it. This 7 step part is actually very enlightening. It is a 7 step path EVERY manager that will be confronted with disgruntled employees will get to deal with. And the fact that there is a path that diffuses the issue and optionally makes a disgruntled person happy (or way less disgruntled) also means that you achieve retention and optionally renewed loyalty that becomes the golden ticket. A disgruntled employee that got over it in a good way is more than loyal, that person will have your back when the shit really hits the fan and 2-3 of those in your company can save a company when the markets collapse around you. They optionally become your powerbrokers and brand ambassadors. In light of 11 deaths I am not making light of the situation. In this case it was too late, the question becomes: ‘Could this have been prevented?‘ and I say ‘No!’ Gun laws would not have prevented this (because the bulk will blame gun laws), because an axe can achieve up close and personal just as lethally as any gun would.
If there is one part of the article I am not entirely in agreement with than it is the part that Dr. David G. Javitch discusses at ‘5. Encourage Compromise‘, with “each person must be willing to give in a little” we need to first establish the stage. For example, if the trigger was a guy who was a former Football players and all girls in the office want to date him (with additional nightly beneficial needs), and the man blew up because his wife cheated on him (with someone else mind you). The compromise of: ‘What if your wife cheated a little less‘ is not a setting that will work. I am of course taking a ridiculous example, but the foundation of internal and external pressures (internal being the workplace) is still valid in many cases. Like the loss of commission impacting mortgage is the nightmare that many US workers have faced in their life and millions face that pressure even today, so finding out that part is crucial. The internal issues can be dealt with, but when external impact is seen (like healthcare, personal care, financial care and mental care). I would find it important towards resolving the issues that all internal pressures are to be removed (if at all possible). Perhaps (especially if this was a long term employee) an immediate 2 week paid leave so that the person can focus on the pressure could have resolved everything.
All elements that are part of resolving the pain a person faces whilst being disgruntled. And in that case it was not the office, but in that case the pressure was the straw that broke the camel’s back and as a good manager you want your whole caravan to make the journey to the end, so as a manager you optionally get to compromise close towards 100%, yet when it creates loyalty you win in the end and you could win a lot when the chips are down in reverse, it is a path that many ignore for no reason at all.
However, today Virginia Beach is at minus 11, the Mayor (Bobby Dyer), the Governor (Ralph Northam), the Police Chief (James Cervera), they are all there in their emotional states (which is fine). It will take a few days for the events to settle and at that point we will see what was really what. I just hope that the blaming of guns stop, because that too is a possum move to ignore the truth of the matter, people kill people; what triggered this person kill 11 others is a question no one can answer for now.