Occasionally you may encounter particularly challenging or aggressive behaviours – whether it be in the workplace or in a public space.
Knowing how to manage these behaviours is important, both for your own safety, and to avoid a situation escalating.
What contributes to challenging behaviours?
Challenging behaviours may be driven by:
- Biological or physiological drivers, such as pain, intoxication, or an acquired brain injury.
- Social drivers, such as boredom or poor communication.
- Environmental drivers, such as noise.
- Psychological drivers, such as feeling disempowered, needing to control or intimidate, or lack of adherence to community norms.
Challenging behaviours can be thought of as a means of communicating a message. They are often a learned way of behaving that has served a purpose in the past for someone.
From zero to hero?
Consider the following scale:
- Couldn’t be better
- Relaxed and happy
- Cool and collected
- Heating up
- Ready to explode
- Exploding and out of control.
It’s rare for people to go from ‘1 to 10’ very quickly, so recognising warning signs of challenging and aggressive behaviour is important.
By the time someone is 8, 9 or 10 out of 10, there is not a lot you can do. In these circumstances, focus should be on general safety principles and, if required, involvement of security or emergency services.
Indicators of anger and aggression
- Facial expression
- Body language
- Choice of language
- The meaning of the words used
What to avoid
- Being confrontational.
- Raising your voice.
- Initiating physical contact.
- Approaching the person from behind, cornering or crowding.
Responding to aggression
- Always remember to take care of your own safety and the safety of others.
- Follow your organisation’s OH&S and Critical Incident policies. If you don’t know these, ask your your OH&S representative or HR you don’t know these, ask your your OH&S representative or HR manager.
- If you have concerns about potential hazards, raise these with your OH&S representative or HR manager.
- Speak in a calm, respectful and non-judgemental way.
- Use clear communication and active listening.
- You may need to repeat important information.
Caraniche offers a range of training courses to support the professional development of frontline workers, clinicians, supervisors, team leaders and managers, including Managing Aggressive and Challenging Behaviours.