A friend drew my attention to a series of personal comments put on face book about a former colleague. The hostile comments had been provoked by an article the individual had written but the criticism wasn't about content, it was personal. The individual was an ex senior manager in the organisation those commenting had all worked for. Despite all concerned having left the organisation many years ago these individuals, judging from the comments, could not forget or forgive. The crime,being regarded as responsible for the forcing out of a popular director. Such loyalty ,such resentment and such naivety!
As my friend said the new manager was brought in to change things but was never accepted because of their commercial background, even thought it was generally agreed that big changes were necessary because of the changing financial climate. The new person was simply doing the Boards biding. The director who left was indeed popular and had excellent people skills but even those who admired the values they stood for would concede that they were unlikely to address the financial issues in the way the board wanted. Which of course was why the board over looked them and brought in someone from out side. The director having lost the battle for the future direction of the organisation was astute enough to take the very generous packed offered.
Why so much personal animosity after so many years? Whilst some of the changes over seen by the new boss were unpopular and seen as more to do with financial consideration rather than quality of care non of these managers felt strongly enough to resign or move on ,many were still there when the new boss was in turn replaced a few years latter.
Should we be surprised that a group of managers should still be in contact with each other many years after they had left the organisation and that they should hold such personal animosity to a former boss? A boss who appears to have been considered reasonable by those who worked directly for them and as no worse or better by the wider organisation. Is this a case of misplaced loyalty,the need to find a villain responsible for the loss of their hero, is it resentment at the loss of their influence or naivety about how organisations work?
Perhaps the lesson to be learnt is that we should neither seek to make our leaders heroes nor villains.
Blair McPherson author of People management in a harsh financial climate published by Russell House www.blairmcpherson.co.uk
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