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Dear Workforce How Do We Teach People Skills To Our Boss

The preferred approach: ask the boss's colleagues for advice.
July 8, 2001
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Related Topics: Behavioral Training, Dear Workforce
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QDear Workforce:

Our company president excels at generating new business. But she lacks peopleskills, often flying off the handle at trivial matters and making staff feelsmall. Although she apologizes, by then the damage is done. How can we addressthe morale issue this creates, while preventing other managers from exhibitingsimilar behavior?

- HR Administrator, publishing/communication/advertising, Frederick,Maryland.

A Dear Maryland Morale Booster:

As an HR professional in the organization, it is critical that you figure outhow to address the issue.

First, check your perceptions. Are others in the organization as concerned asyou are?

Second, search for resources. What person, who is respected and trusted bythe president (especially as an effective business person), also is concernedabout the behavior?

Discuss your concerns with this person. See if the boss's colleague iswilling to provide feedback and some recommendations to the president. Thiswould definitely be the preferred way to handle the situation. It is much easierfor the boss to accept feedback when it is from someone she trusts.

If you are the one giving feedback to the boss, first ask for permission todo so. Then, remembering that most people do not try to be hurtful or fly offthe handle, provide the president feedback about what you and others haveobserved and the impact her behavior has on others. Since most people aresensitive to comments about their behavior, clearly let the president know youare trying to be helpful, and that you realize she does not intend to be hurtfulto others. She may or may not want to discuss it with you. It is not your job toconvince her. Instead, provide the feedback and suggestions for what she mightwant to do.

It is likely from the situation you described that the president wouldbenefit from an executive coach who could help her with these situations. Beforeeither you -- or preferably a respected colleague -- talk with the president,plan what you will say, and have specific ideas of who could be an effectivecoach. The best way to find an executive coach is to talk with people who haveused one, or by contacting a consulting organization.

SOURCE: Susan Gebelein, executive vice president for Personnel DecisionsInternational, Minneapolis, Minn., author of the Successful Manager'sHandbook,March 19, 2001

LEARN MORE: See "Workplace Negativity" formore advice and strategies.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide usefulinformation on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice ora legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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