Your Office Coach: Disruptive boss may be making point

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Marie G. McIntyre

Posted: Sunday, September 8, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 3:21 pm, Wed May 21, 2014.

Q: I am troubled by some recent developments in the company where I have worked for 20 years. Lately, I have been hearing a lot of complaints from my friends in another department. Even though I’m not directly affected, I hate to see my colleagues having such a difficult time.

The problems began after a new vice president was hired. “Dan” is not only rude to his staff, but he has also been modifying many well-established policies and procedures. No one questions these decisions because Dan is extremely intimidating. To be fair, I should also mention that he is very smart and has saved the company a lot of money.

Because I really care about this business, I would like to help resolve these issues — but I’m not sure what to do. Should I bring this to someone’s attention?

A: Based on such limited evidence, it’s impossible to tell whether Dan is a hero or a villain. If he was hired as a turnaround artist, his smart money-saving moves may be exactly what top management was hoping for. In that case, your unhappy colleagues might just be experiencing a normal reaction to change.

On the other hand, Dan could be the proverbial bull in the corporate china shop, creating operational chaos and alienating valued employees. But since complaining about high-level managers is risky business, you need to proceed with caution.

If you have a trustworthy human resources department, that’s the logical place to take this information. Your 20-year track record will bolster your credibility, and your lack of direct involvement should help you present the situation objectively.

For example: “Employees in Dan’s department have recently shared some concerns with me. Many of them feel that Dan treats people disrespectfully and is making reckless changes. Since I don’t work for him, I have no firsthand knowledge of these issues, but I thought you should be aware of them.”

If Dan actually is a rogue executive, your feedback would be quite valuable. But if you fear that such a report may not be well-received, then you should keep these grapevine comments to yourself.

Q: Two weeks ago, my husband sent his resume to a company in another state. Although he is well-qualified for the position, he has not gotten any response. Should he phone the human resources department or would that be viewed as overly aggressive?

A: As a general rule, applicants can appropriately make one call to be sure their resume was received. Similarly, after an interview, they can follow up once to check on the decision process. Beyond that, additional inquiries are likely to brand them as a nuisance.

Unfortunately, time passes much more slowly for job seekers than for those who may hire them. While applicants are anxiously waiting for news, managers are typically distracted by dozens of other priorities, so your husband may not hear anything for a while. And if he is not selected for an interview, he may never hear anything at all.

Contact the writer: www.yourofficecoach.com

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