Abuse Can Hurt Your Business

Business Workplace Communication



Sometimes people who are nice do not know how to deal with abuse in the workplace. Usually, because they are kind, they do not understand why someone else might actually be abusive to start with let alone know exactly what to do to stop this.

When you have an abusive staff member, a toxic environment can harm you, your clients, other staff, and your own life. A person who is abusive wants to have their own personal needs met but might not know how to have that happen in a healthy way. As a result, they may be emotionally, mentally, or even physically or sexually abusive to others. They take what they want and the person who they abuse often lives with fear and feelings of low-self-worth.

I have been in stores and businesses where I witnessed people who are abusive. Sometimes it may occur when a frustrated parent is upset with a child. Sometimes someone who is at Customer Service decides to yell or swear about an injustice that s/he feels they have experienced. Often there is a toxic environment that has grown from abusive behaviours either from the management towards staff or even between staff members. When this occurs, there is a tension that can be felt, and people will usually be uncomfortable.

There are three different aspects to every abuse:

  1. The abuser - This person has likely had their needs met in the pat by using unhealthy techniques. If s/he is not dealt with, the abuse will likely either continue or even escalate. Change is usually based on a combination of confrontation where the abuser learns that their behaviours are not acceptable and a learning process where healthier skills are adopted.
  2. The target - Often a person who has been abused in the past has not learned how to stand up for himself and does not have the confidence or assertiveness skills to deal with the situation. The good news is that, with support and some training, this can change.
  3. The environment - There needs to be a zero tolerance for abuse that is strongly enforced. As a business owner, you cannot ignore what is going on and, if you are the problem, you need to be mature and responsible enough to get the help that you need to make positive changes.

You see, if you don't do something about this, you will face consequences because abuse can hurt your business (and all those who are associated with it).

By the way, do you want to learn more about increasing your business profits fast?


Dr. Linda Hancock, the author of “Life is An Adventure…every step of the way” and “Open for Business Success” is a Registered Psychologist who has a private practice in Medicine Hat. She can be reached at 403-529-6877 or through email office@drlindahancock.com


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