How to Defuse a Potentially Dangerous Work Situation by Mike Brassil

In a perfect world our employees would perform perfectly and act like well-behaved adults. All too often, bad behavior in the workplace is commonplace. The path of least resistance is to remain in denial by rationalizing bad behavior, and pretending it isn’t happening. You convince yourself that the issue isn’t important, or that you hope the matter will clear up by itself up in due course. This course of action is usually not very effective. A problem employee is often emboldened by non-action and the behavior often gets worse. In a very real sense, you lead by what you tolerate. By approaching the problem the right manner, you can often defuse a potentially dangerous situation.

Here are some suggestions for handling this bad behavior:

  • Don’t respond emotionally. Realize that although you might not be able to change an employee’s behavior, as long as it is not causing serious problems, you can control your reactions to it.
  • Remain objective. Focus on the situation itself. Attack the problem, not the person.
  • Don’t allow personalities to enter into it, to do so often results in making a bad situation even worse.
  • Avoid using generalities, such as: “you always.” This doesn’t solve anything. It only makes the employee more defensive.
  • Make it a point to never criticize, reprimand, or rebuke an employee in front of another.

While these suggestions will not eliminate bad behavior in your workplace, they will reduce it’s effects on productivity and on other workers.

About the Author

Michael (Mike) Brassil is author of “The Only Business Start-Up Guide You Will Ever Need.” Download two chapters — Starting a New Business and The Home Working Revolution — at