I work at a quickly growing company that started as a mom and pop and is now being taken over by a corporation. They have made some changes (which I really like to see!), the latest and greatest one being forming a HR department.

We have an all manager meeting between six department heads that I may soon need to be a part of. The problem is, I butt heads with one of the other managers pretty bad. They are not nearly as willing to go through these changes that are being made and has recently turned their frustrations on my department and the changes I've personally made within it. I've talked to the GM about this but they are friends that share information and, to frankly put it, the GM doesn't have much of a back bone and often puts up with the manager's horrible behavior. Since the manager's department helps bring in income and is currently under the itense eye of the corporation, the GM rarely pushes back on things that don't quite make sense but would be an easier short cut to make the department look better.

The new HR manager is aware that the manager is a problem (I have yet to address my concerns) and is making progress to change things around here but it's an uphill battle.

The meetings relate to employee and department concerns as well as reports. From what has been said by other managers, it's a complete free for all that can get quite heated and I worry that it would not fly by the company that has absorbed us if they really knew what was said and how things were handled. I also worry I will be attacked and, without proper mediation, I will have to defend my position and department to people who hate it (my department gets to be the rule enforcer within the work we perform which impacts all departments). Is it acceptable to request for HR to sit in on these meetings?

Edit 1: For clarity, the HR department is just the one person! They are not included in the manager meeting and I don't believe the GM has intentions of changing that. The all manager meetings included all managers before the HR manager was onboarded by the corporation and my promotion. The GM claims the meetings are mainly centered around profits. My department does not make money and is self sufficient so I have not pushed to be included.

  • 1
    If it is an "all manager" meeting then the HR manager will be there.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 5:40
  • Unfortunately the HR manager is also not included due to the outward appearance of the meeting being about profits. The GM is not the biggest fan of the HR manager (a much more intense rule enforcer!) so I doubt the GM will be quick to include them without a big push.
    – Curious
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 5:45

2 Answers 2


Nope. It would be unacceptable for HR to be present in arbitrary business meetings. The role of a HR person is not to be a baby-sitter in meetings to make sure the kids don't throw toys at each other.

HR isn't even really meant to get involved if your department is attacked. Assuming the performance of your department is being attacked, and not the people personally. In such a situation, it would need to be determined if such discussions were indeed productive.

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    well put! btw - to little for an edit but there's a 'r' missing in the first sentence of the 2nd paragraph..
    – iLuvLogix
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 13:46

I would go about it gradually. It does not even matter much if you are managers or what.

  1. Invite him for a F2F. Concentrate on finding a way to coexists, not to change each other's minds.
  2. If 1. fails, inform him that you want to have a F2F2F, with either a higher common manager (still keep it in-house).
  3. If 2. fails, same as 2, with HR involved.
  4. If 3. fails also, you are out of options. You are on your own, in uncharted territories. You might consider polishing your CV.

The GM is not the biggest fan of the HR manager

That might work in your favor. They have a lower chance of teaming against you - even though the GM is also the boss of HR - so you might get kicked by the power of the GM alone, even if HR is involved as an act.

Would it be acceptable to request an HR representative to sit in on an all manager meeting?

You will have more-or-less 0% chances to solve your problem if you try to solve it publicly. Also, if you start in that way, you pretty much burn all the other bridges, so you will suddenly be in the worst case situation.

  • You are right. I have sort of skipped one due to the tensions between us. Any time the GM (mutual in house manager) is involved, I get to see how quickly they bend due to the manager's approach being much more aggressive than mine. I think it's time to take a step back to 1 just to say I tried. While I think there are bigger problems to solve than my own as far as the meeting goes, there's no need to put any bigger of a target on my back. I imagine it will very slowly work itself out. Thank you for helping me see it this way!
    – Curious
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 6:07
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    @Curious: "just to say I tried" - don't think in that way. You risk to not put the right amount of effort into it. It is better to genuinely organize the things to actually solve the problem, rather than having the attitude of another thing removed from the list. I really hope that your efforts will be successful.
    – virolino
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 6:55

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