Question: Our company's human resources manager is an autocratic bully. She gives people verbal warnings for being one minute late and has been known to subject employees to searches. Even though everyone regards her as cruel and obnoxious, she seems to have a disproportionate amount of influence with our CEO.
Recently, someone showed the CEO several highly offensive emails in which the HR manager used profanity and referred to certain employees as "slimy and useless." Shortly thereafter, the person who made this complaint was fired. Now there is a climate of fear, and no one will speak up. What can we do about this abusive woman?
Answer: The real problem here is not with your dreadful HR manager, but with the CEO. In any company, HR people have only as much power as the top executive allows. Your CEO could easily halt the intimidation if he wished, so apparently he either endorses her harsh approach or is a complete wimp.
The culture of an organization is largely determined by the values and traits of the person at the top. By allowing this HR tyrant to terrorize employees, your CEO has made it clear that he has no interest in creating a healthy, supportive workplace. Therefore, you may want to carefully consider whether this is where you want to spend your future.
Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of "Secrets to Winning at Office Politics." Send in questions and get free coaching tips at www.yourofficecoach.com