I once worked for a Director who stormed out of the office when I
said something he didn’t like. Thing was it was his office!
Organisations like people have personalities which shape the way
Organisations are like individuals.
A personality profile of an organisation will include
strength and weaknesses, values, the work environment, behavior under
stress, ideal customers, how it manages change and the overall
corporate culture. So what happens when the personality is that of the Hulk?
The Hulk is an intelligent, educated, rational, normally calm
rather shy man, a scientist. But an experiment in his laboratory went
wrong. Now he can no longer control his emotions. If something or some
one annoys him he turns into a raging monster, shouting incoherently,
rampaging around like an irritable rhinoceros or bull elephant on heat.
Imagine working in HR for an organisation with a personality like
the Hulk. An organisation with great well thought out policies and
procedures reflecting a clear set of values that inform the way,
employees, customers and partner agencies are treated. A commitment to
transparency in the way decisions are made, an elaborate employee
engagement process , a willingness to work with a range of parters and
a strong sense of business ethics. And a reputation for over reacting.
Half way through some delicate negotiations the management side
simple walks out of the meeting with employee representatives annoyed
at their continued objections to proposed changes to working
arrangements. Funding is unilaterally and suddenly with drawn from a
joint project because of what are seen as critical comments made in a
local radio interview by a senior manager from the partner agency. The
senior management team is irritated by the difficulty they and their
managers are experiencing parking their cars at HQ. So without warning
an email is sent to all staff that with immediate effect only managers
will be allowed to use the car park.
With this model of management as their example managers at every
level in the organisation are prone to reacting with impatience and
intolerance if they are frustrated in what they consider to be
legitimate attempts to manage. The result is a high level of
grievances against managers and frequent conflict with support
services, finance, IT and HR.
HR are accused of being obstructive when they refuse to let a
manager circumnavigate the recruitment process to make a swift
appointment of “ some one they know”. HR is seen as unhelpful when
they point out that before some one can be said to have failed their
probationary period their must be evidence of feed back to the
individual, opportunities to improve performance and clarity of
expectations e.g. targets with time scales. Manager frustration in
dealing with absenteeism has even been know to result in HR being
called “useless “.
Perhaps in view of this experience it is not such an exaggeration
to compare some organisations to the Hulk.
Blair Mcpherson former Director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk