A Reader Writes:
As an IT support tech in my company, I visit many senior manager offices to fix their equipment. While in their offices, most managers make small talk with me while I am working on their problem. One particular senior manager always makes remarks about my appearance with such things like “those slacks are so slimming on you!” or “what have you changed in your diet to look so good today!” I get so angry at her that I want to go to HR and complain, but she is the head of HR. How can I get her to stop?
The Navigator would like to challenge the two assumptions in your question. First, reporting things to HR is not an effective strategy to improving your employee experience. The Navigator’s views on this are well known: Human Resources are not your advocate. They are an agency of the company. Involving HR in most circumstances should only be considered after you have tried many different approaches at your disposal to remedy a situation. Your second assumption is that leaders in an org chart are more appropriate in their people skills than those with lesser titles. If any example is to be learned here, it is that you have been shown how not to treat other employees. When you one day become a leader, you will treat people with respect and bring out the best in them.
Next time the Head of HR says a patronizing remark to you (and no one else is around), calmly say “I know you are well-intentioned when you remark on my appearance, but I am not comfortable with it. Maybe we could talk about other things as I get your laptop up to speed?”
Even if she responds defensively, she will hesitate to do it in the future.