I am referring to a management problem that has been reported in organisations of every type and size. It’s not a new problem. So why have we not got better at dealing with it. Uncomfortable as it is to admit in some organisations it’s not recognised as a problem, instead it’s referred to as strong management, “Tough Love”.
In some organisations it viewed as a way of managing that gets results. The managers who do this to their subordinates are sycophantic creeps, horrible to their staff but nice as pie to their boss and colleagues. Those who report this treatment are not always dealt with sympathetically and may even be regarded with suspicion.
The continued existence of this problem highlights a lack of people skills in some managers which reflects badly on the recruitment process. Management is about getting people to do what needs to be done, even if they prefer not to. The problem occurs where managers don’t know how to respond to staff who resist or who fail to deliver and as a result these managers can let their frustration get the better of them.
The problem behaviour doesn’t have to involve shouting ,swearing or threatening those they manage it’s often more subtle but the result is the same individual feels intimidated and belittled.
In the case of a formal complaint it often falls to HR to decide whether a manager has got the balance right between reasonable pressure and unreasonable demands , between acceptable standards of work and unrealistic expectations, between helpful feedback and undermining criticism. What constitutes unacceptable management behaviour changes over time and from one organisation to another HR are part of trying to raise the bar.