‘My Boss, the Bully’: Interview with Regina Tendayi

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SINCE my interview early this year with Regina Tendayi soon after her book In Pursuit of Righteousness in which she explored some heart-rending experiences of subordinates at the hands of a bully boss, a lot has been happening in Regina’s professional journey. Recently Regina, who is the human resources and administration director with a leading health insurance firm, scored a double when she was awarded the Institute of People Management of Zimbabwe (IPMZ) Fellow member status whilst the Porcupine Press, a South African publishing house, has republished her book under a new title, My Boss, The Bully! I caught up with Regina to shed more light into these developments.

RM: Regina, congratulations for your milestone achievements and scoring a double.

RT: Thank you, Robert. I feel humbled with the level of confidence bestowed upon me by the Institute of People Management as well as the acknowledgement by Porcupine Press Publishers on the quality and relevance of the content of my book. It is heart-warming to also note that I also got certified as a chartered HR practitioner by IPMZ.

RM: Firstly, tell us about this IPMZ award and its implications to your professional life.

RT: The Fellow status by IPMZ is the highest level of recognition that is conferred upon an HR practitioner as affirmation of the level ofprofessional proficiency as proven by the show of solid ethical expertise in the field of HR management. By implication, I join the team of highly professional HR practitioners in Zimbabwe that are well respected within the profession. The chartered HR status is conferred to HR experts that prove their mastery of the key HR functional areas following a rigorous process by approved certified HR practitioners.

RM: How does one get to be recognised for such a prestigious award?

RT: One should have an astute and clean track record and should have been in an HR leadership position for a minimum period of 10 years. Part of the assessment includes having done some original HR paper or presentation on a topical issue which one has to defend before a panel of technical assessors.

RM: What is your advice to other HR practitioners and others in leadership on the treatment of subordinates in the workplace?

RT: Subordinates are key team players to delivery of organisational goals. They should be treated with respect and dignity as well as supported fully to ensure they perform at their best to ensure achievement of shareholder value.

Ill-treatment of staff includes abuse of power by superiors, harassment, shouting obscenities and using abusive language all of which are typically bullying tactics by a bully boss. This is detrimental to performance, causes high stress levels and impacts negatively on wellness initiatives and, as such, must be avoided at all cost.

RM: Now coming to your book which has been “re-titled” My Boss, The Bully!, what has really changed in the book with the new title?

RT: After reading the book, Porcupine Press advised that the first book was not quite appropriately titled. From the story line, they advised that the book makes a great HR educational and case study book not only at the workplace but at universities as well, hence the apt title, My Boss, The Bully!. The main improvement is on the quality standard of the content write up which now benchmarks the content with global best practices. Also, the conclusion of the book provides the conclusion on how the harassment matter that ‘Pam’ took to courts ended.

Whilst the telecoms giant was arrogantly persistent with appeal after appeal at every stage of the court, the republished book provides the full details of the judgement right to the end, putting to bed the battle to correct the deeply ingrained corporate bullying and maladministration perpetrated by a so-called chief human resources officer who abused his authority to the extent of committing inhuman practices like asking a wheelchair-bound subordinate go up the flight of stairs to the first floor on her back to collect a resignation letter he had written himself based on trumped-up charges. The glaring infringement of the employee’s rights to be heard before a disciplinary hearing was exacerbated by the telecoms giant’s inappropriate labor practices of denying staff the right to representation despite the labour law provisions in that regard.

RM: What should your readers expect in the new version?

RT: Readers are sure to gain more insights especially from not only the enhanced content throughout the book but also through the detailed conclusion to the court case after almost 5 years from one court level to the other. There are detailed key lessons on how to handle cases around constructive dismissal at the workplace.

Further the book also provides strategic hints on how to handle disciplinary cases involving senior managers and directors at the workplace. Readers will be guided on smooth and foolproof ways to handle director exits that may potentially become explosive given the soiled circumstances surrounding the cause of exit. The book provides insights on the need to know where to draw the line between religious beliefs versus professional corporate practices.

RM: Thank you Regina for giving time to share your insights into these new developments.

RT: Thank you, Robert. The book is available at bookshops in Harare and in South Africa, as well as online: www.amazon.com; www.porcupinepress.co.za; For enquiries log on to: www.reginatendayi.com or info@reginatendayi.com OR visit Facebook or Linked in @regina.tendayi.

Mandeya is an executive coach, trainer in human capital development and corporate education, a certified leadership and professional development practitioner and founder of the Leadership Institute for Research and Development (LiRD). — robert@lird.co.zw, info@lird.co.zw or +263 772 466 925.

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