Dear Aunty B,
I have an extremely effective GM for my retailing business. There is just one hitch, he treats his PA badly and can be snappy and rude. How should I approach this as he is a defensive type of character who reacts badly to criticism?
Retailer [name withheld],
Dear Chatswood retailer,
Right now as we speak, half your office is b*tching about your GM. Everyone will know this is going on (stories about rude bosses spread like wildfire) and underground hate campaigns like this often get blown out of all proportion and always, always, always waste work time.
In particular, this type of treatment creates a ‘them and us’/‘how can they treat us like that’ work culture. If you want to have a reputation as a boss with brain cells, a spine, a sense of ethics and decency (and keep out of formal harassment proceedings) you need to act.
First of all, speak directly with the PA, discuss any key incidents and assess the situation. If the claims are genuine, assure him/her that the situation will not happen again.
Now for that tête-à-tête with your GM.
Option 1 for the tamer GM: Organise a formal meeting, make a 100% improvement in the situation a KPI on his next performance review, directly linked to salary increases. Put it in writing. Then arrange a meeting with the PA, GM and yourself and have the GM formally, genuinely apologise (this is the secret weapon for moving forward). Discuss the situation with other GMs and reinforce your attitude towards this type of Neanderthal behaviour.
Option 2 for the feisty GM: Arrange a meeting with the GM, your lawyer and yourself and have the lawyer explain the risks (to the business and to his career with the company) of bullying behaviour. Then go through the steps in option 1.
Option 3 for the feral GM: Start proceedings with a formal, written warning about the behaviour. If this is met with a tsunami reaction, a demotion (in the least) may be in order and one of those ‘future with the company’ chats.
Once all that is taken care of, it’s time for a KEVIN07 style anti-harassment workplace campaign for the office. Put up anti-harassment/bullying signs around the workplace and reinforce a zero tolerance stance on this crappy behaviour, knowing full well that you are actually walking the walk.
What are you waiting for? Email your questions, problems and issues to [email protected] right now!