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Blog - Why HR Managers are key in tackling inappropriate behaviour at senior levels

Why HR Managers are key in tackling inappropriate behaviour at senior levels

Posted by Stella Chandler 10/09/16

ApproachWe often talk about how vital it is for the senior leadership team to role model organisational values and behaviours. So what happens when it is a senior manager or director who has displayed inappropriate behaviour at work?

It can be particularly tricky to deal with, but a high percentage of the enquiries we get from organisations are because it is a senior manager who has crossed the line. Incidents range from physical contact such as touching or hugging to misjudged humour and comments and embarrassing antics fuelled by alcohol.

9 times out of 10 the behaviour was not intentional... and in fact often well-intentioned. For example, tactile people have more of a tendency to give someone what they consider a reassuring pat or hug. Jokes are often a way for people to try and motivate others or to be seen as one of the team.

The issue is one of assumptions and boundaries...

The HR managers who contact us “get” this; they understand that it is a lack of awareness, rather than anything more deliberate, which has led to the incidents and want our help as a way to sensitively support the manager to change their behaviour... not to blame or admonish.

With this positive approach from their own organisation, the managers we work with are actually very open to looking at themselves and being prepared to make changes. In fact, if they have been the subject of a grievance, they are often feeling very isolated and unsure how to move forward and are very grateful for some support.

It is the forward thinking HR managers in these situations who see the opportunity for important awareness raising and for genuinely making things more comfortable for everyone, rather than just a box ticking exercise - or worse - ignoring it.

Have a look at our case studies where we have worked on a one to one basis with senior managers to get behaviour back on track.

Or call us for a confidential discussion about how we can help tackle behavioural issues at work – 01903 732 782 email

Stella Chandler
Stella Chandler

I thrive on seeing people do things they didn’t think they could do! I draw on my management and leadership experience from working in senior positions in the Metropolitan Police Service, running Focal Point since 2002 and working across all three sectors in the widest variety of environments. Because we rarely learn things first time, we believe it is vital to provide support before, during and after the events we run, in order to get the best from them. Time and time again people have told us how the chance to review their learning and to have their actions reinforced has really helped cement new ways of doing things. This is what has then made the difference that they and we are looking for. I am a fellow of the CIPD and when I am not working with clients I can be seen on the golf courses of Hampshire.

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