Believe it or not, the science of managing people is the science of Leadership, pure and simple, no more; no less. CEO is the captain of the ship. This is what actually happened and the boss (COO/CEO or lower) has no control over his own emotions, behaviour or sense of feelings of workforce. It is a natural law that operates inexorably and without regard for the human beings involved. The Leader's only recourse is to pledge to recurrently and evidently communicating high value standards through the customary management actions of supporting, directing and developing.
Heading with Headache : Chief Operating Officer (COO) of a company is next to promoter of company and have all the powers to run business operation smoothly with sustainable growth years to years, require to have strategic vision, leadership, determination, an ability to motivate & inspire. He should entail to work constructively with all type of people, unflinching focus on result considering, how short term activities are in concert with long term objective. Other than above, a great listener, listen without prejudice, non-judgemental, take time to listen & reach on conclusions, controlling ego, seeing all colleague and staff.
Mr. Hoshiyar Singh, COO, an IIM pass out having rich experience, but having loose temper, openly fire on people, take judgment without consulting with senior management, react in open forum with harsh language which is non-tolerable by the staff.
In this case words used for staff is not appreciated by the employees and decision of HR head (for recruiting a person) which was rejected without consulting with other officials is also not favourable for organisation. Such action gives a message among staff that they have no respect and can't take decision independently within their jurisdiction. This kind of leadership behaviour of Hoshiyar Singh spell out the the autocratic approach which is now more irrelevant. The organizations are believing and expecting mix approaches of leadership which result into more cognitive workplace & more productive floor. As far as traits of COO is concerned, he is believer of the autocratic approach and not sensitive to people behaviour. In future, COO may run the business in terms of profit but in people front, he will definitely have nose-dived.
Mr. Gautam, VP-HR, does not want any kind of collusion with COO and trying to spend his easy professional life. Mr. Gautam has a right for parallel reporting to board of director. COO was not happy with this power and has desire to control HR function. VP-HR is probably believes in and follows the democratic leadership/participative leadership style but intervention/behaviour of COO has constrained him to indulge into forbearance approach. In the organizational context, they both will face severe glitches in future if they do not change their leadership style.
Occupy with Occupation : HR head of a corporate organisation is meditator between employee and board. Firstly, he has to have quality to motivate and satisfy to an employee and be an advocate for employee happiness since without employees efforts a business can't flourish. Secondly, maintaining the vigorous relation with COO is reciprocal here. Mr. Gautam, neither able to satisfy employees who have come to him complaining about abuses by COO nor converse the opinion and sensation of employees with COO to avoid such language which has resulted into employees attrition and board has asked the reasons to him. The issue was kept under carpet since Gautam does not want any sort of conflict. He has not shown willingness to handle situation carefully. As far as attrition is concerned, there may be so many factors involved in this organization and not only VP-HR.
For slightness of Flames : As Gautam, VP-HR, was already aware of the behaviour of COO, he should have conducted high level outbound behaviour training and counsel for enhancement and giving HR behaviour based presentation, explaining the dominant factors leading to losses to organisation and communicate the factors to board in healthy manner without hurting the image of COO. Here, Gautam, has not presented the recruitment matter properly before COO (the matter of rejection of his decision). He should have met in his cabin and not in the way. COO's questioning on the way in open and using derogatory words to all staff cannot be justified in any way. HR can also conduct an in house employee survey to reach at the reasons of increasing rate of attrition & accordingly formulate HR policy to cope up the issue.
End without blend : Being a head of business, COO should have well control on his communication and behaviours. If some where he disagrees on any substance, call the concern person and speak to him privately and issue the suitable direction to HR or other concerned officials. The Management should also formulate & facilitate the learning and development program for all employees on soft and motivational topics.