Real-World Ways to Handle Problem Executives
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Nearly every fleet manager can tell a similar story. The new selector is published and an executive e-mails to denounce the choices and demand an exception. An executive with a company car demands that the fleet manager personally drive the car to get the oil changed. After notifying a driver of the consequences of a third moving violation, the fleet manager gets an angry call from the VP of sales, demanding (not asking) the punishment be rescinded and threatening to notify the CEO.
It may be rare, but an unfortunate fact of business life is that some executives like to throw their weight around and bully subordinates. It is the fleet manager’s lot that he or she comes in contact with executives from most disciplines in the company and may have to deal with oversized executive egos more often than most; few things are more frustrating.
The question of how to deal with sticky situations such as these has no easy answer. Yes, having a good relationship at the very top of the organization helps, but what department head wants to be seen as "hiding behind the CEO’s skirt?" It is a better manifestation of any manager’s mettle if the situation can be defused and handled without looking for help from top management, or better yet, avoided in the first place. The following ideas may help a fleet manager avoid getting caught between the executive rock and the CEO hard place.