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A Petty Excuse of a Leader

Here is an example of why I wrote this book (link below).

This is what happens when you attempt to have an adult conversation with kidults who are freely running around in organisations.

Picture the scenario; an employee makes some dodgy transaction and is accused of theft. What does a professional HR person do? Gets the respective departments to investigate it. Then HR and an impartial member(s) review facts and evidence and proceed with disciplinary action (or not) based on the findings. Yes, it should be like that. Instead, this HR Director calls the employee to the office, where he is met with his boss’s anger and verbal and physical aggression. HR tries to calm the situation instead of removing him immediately from the whole process. The saga continued throughout the entire day, with additional colleagues getting involved. Then it escalated to the level that reminds me of a good dressing down from your parents when you were about five years old.

The HR Director stands above the guy (who is sitting on the sofa in the HR office) and screams from the top of her lungs, threatening the employee with jail and deportation. Everyone talks about it for days, asking, “Has she lost the plot?” No, she just made a mockery of the HR office.

Well, the story doesn’t end there. During the saga, two of my colleagues and I had lunch together. We did not plan it. It just happened. She saw this and called a MEETING with the two other junior colleagues about it. The meeting should have been titled “Why did you go for lunch when I was in a difficult situation?” They were told they could not have lunch with me as they don’t have lunch with her and the other HR guru. I mean, you wouldn’t even tell that to your kids, right? As the days passed, the firing situation was still bugging everyone, and the atmosphere became rather uncomfortable. A couple of days later, she emailed me about something, closing it with a passive-aggressive “We’ll chat when I’m back.”

So, I thought, let’s do that chat! Within 30 seconds, I turned the conversation around, and I kindly and professionally explained to her that what had happened during that disciplinary was not okay and that her emotional state and mood swings were impacting the team, making it very unpleasant to be around her.

I wasn’t saying this for my benefit, as she left me alone, but I wanted to help the other two junior colleagues who had been complaining and stressing about her for months. Oh god, you should have seen her reaction. She was like a pressure cooker ready to blow, but she composed herself with me. Later, I left the office for a few hours, only to come back to the news that the two junior colleagues had both been questioned, to almost an investigation level, about what they had said and why they were complaining to me about her.

I was like, “Jesus, woman, you are missing the point here!” No one with a little self-esteem or dignity would do that. Instead, she should have asked about their concerns and taken them seriously. The next morning was even funnier. She walked in, and we all said, “Good morning,” to which she replied, “Oh! All of you say good morning, that’s interesting!” We looked at each other and laughed. During the briefing, she gave a big speech informing us that she normally takes feedback but will not take this because she has never had this problem before. I thought to myself, “You are rather selective with the feedback you are willing to accept, but hey, that’s your journey.”

A few more days passed, and she (HR Director) having a fit here and there instead of saying, “Thank you for the feedback. I had no idea of the impact I had on you guys. Let’s work through it. And thank you, Szilvia, for saving me from losing my team.” which she was utterly oblivious to. Both colleagues were actively looking for a job by then, and I was providing them with references. She claimed, “Nobody has ever left me before.” Guess what? One of her team members resigned three weeks later, but her self-esteem couldn’t handle that and convinced her to stay. We all left her eventually. Yes, her, not the workplace or the company.

From there on, we were “not allowed” to go for lunch together or even after work.

Hahahahahah! During this whole mess, the three of us went out for dinner after work on a Friday. Guess what? They were questioned about it on Monday. You can only laugh and pity her. Her reaction was, “I am inviting you all to my place for dinner next Friday.” Of course, I didn’t go. Her desperation was painful to watch.

I stepped back from the two junior colleagues at work because she couldn't handle that I had good relationships with them. Despite all her efforts and my distance, the guys still came to me with all their complaints about her. They came to my place, and we discussed private and professional matters. Mostly, their problems with her. We didn’t interact much in the office, especially with her being around. We interacted outside of work and on the phone. To be honest, we grew even closer. Nothing like work trauma to bring people together...

PS: When I saw her being nominated "Leaders of the Year" (yes, these leaders are showcased in public while destroying everyone around them at work) I laughed and asked, "Shall I come over and do an intro to her?"

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