Office Coach: Is new boss hero, villain?

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Question: 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.

I would like to help resolve these issues -- but I'm not sure what to do.

Answer: 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.

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.

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 first-hand 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.


Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach;


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