Abrasive bosses: 3 serious organizational sins (Guest commentary)

Fear, ignorance and denial a harmful trio
By Sharone Bar-David
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 01/15/2012

It was time for Maurice to act. As director of HR, a number of people had approached him complaining about Frank, another director, whose harsh manner included emotional outbursts, yelling, public humiliation and liberal use of foul language.

Equipped with specific examples and data regarding unusual staff turnover levels in Frank’s unit, Maurice requested a meeting with Kimberly, Frank’s manager. After relaying his concerns, Maurice was scoffed at by Kimberly who declared the allegations “unfounded nonsense” targeted at “one of our best team players.”

Abrasive managers can be found at any organization. If you haven’t worked with one, you know one. Their conduct is characterized by behaviour similar to Frank’s and it has profound effects on the work environment. Paradoxically, more often than not, these managers do not set out to harm others. Rather, they possess an unrelenting commitment to the organization and their intent is to perform at the highest level possible. But, on the ground, the manifestation of these intentions can be devastating.