Leaders and their leadership teams can lift an organisation to a higher level of development and capacity. Equally, they can limit the ability of an organisation to transform. A recent case before the Federal Circuit Court shows examples of both bad and good leadership, with an out-of-control manager abusing staff and an attentive CEO taking quick action to limit the damage.

In June 2013, a manager began working for a health organisation yet soon started exhibiting aggressive behaviour towards her fellow employees. Two months later, after shouting at staff during a meeting and being critical of other employees, she began to receive extensive counselling, from the CEO, regarding her conduct. The manager’s behaviour continued, resulting in her termination on 22 August 2013.

In response, the manager filed a number of counter claims, arguing that she was dismissed because she had claimed her workplace rights to a safe working environment and reasonable working hours; that she said she had been injured at work; and that the company altered her responsibilities and “grossly” extended her working hours.

The Judge dismissed the adverse action claims, ruling that the manager’s allegations were unfounded. In fact, the court was circumspect in reviewing the evidence that she had given, due to an initial betrayal on her CV, which stated that she said she had a masters of commerce and a law degree, despite not completing either of these degrees.

The health organisation was ultimately successful in the case due to its positive workplace culture, with the CEO acting quickly to combat, and attempting to correct, the manager’s inappropriate workplace behaviour. The judge found that the CEO “endeavoured to build trust and confidence with the manager” and “acted in a manner which was both positive and intended to engender a culture of collective benefit in relation to the work performed by employees at (the company).”

iHR Australia believes that senior staff can benefit from customised coaching in an effort to better manage difficult employees. Our Executive Coaching Service is tailored to the needs of your organisation, with areas of focus targeting skill acquisition, maximising business performance and developing interpersonal behaviours.


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