Dreadful managers

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —September 16, 2007
Filed in Anecdotes

How do they get away with such appalling behaviour? I’ve seen some dreadful displays by managers who seem to revel in the power and forgetting their role is to serve their staff so everyone can deliver value to their clients/stakeholders. Bob Sutton calls these people assholes and has written a neat book about them (The No Asshole Rule) and how to survive their despicable behaviour (here’s a list of survival tips).

So if ‘Who Killed Channel 9’ by Gerald Stone is true, there is a new pantheon of arseholes to be considered in Australia. In a stinging confrontation with channel nine executives, Kerry Packer hurled one accusation and expletive after another. Rory Callaghan, head of light entertainment, had the following interchange with Packer:

‘So where are the figures I asked you to get for the last ten years of Sale of the Century?’

Callaghan was left absolutely stunned. ‘You never asked me for those figures,’ he replied.

‘I f…ing well did,’ he snarled.

‘No you didn’t,’ Callaghan bravely persisted.

‘Right,’ Packer retorted, ‘let’s fix this once and for all.’ With that he picked up the phone to his personal assistant back at Park Street, Di Stone, and barked into the mouthpiece. ‘Di, who’s the f…ing idiot I spoke to about getting all those statistics for Sale of the Century – you know, so we can discuss the seven o’clock slot?’ He listened for a moment, then Callaghan could almost sniff the brimstone on the dragon’s breath, ‘Rory Callaghan! That’s exactly what I f…ing thought!’

In the next couple of pages of the book we discover the call with Di Stone was a charade and there was no one at the other end of the telephone.

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About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:

One Response to “Dreadful managers”

  1. Michael Wagner Says:

    It is timely to read your post here on “dreadful managers” since I just posted a poem about how these “arseholes” can, if we choose, inspire us all.
    Keep creating,

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