Oscar the Bully

By Rich Weissman

September 05, 2012 at 8:13 AM

I was listening to a piece on the news recently and it mentioned bullying in school and the workplace. It is becoming more of a recognized issue in the workplace these days and I am beginning to see some requests from clients to have some sessions on workplace bullying. But, it got me to thinking about my situations in the workplace over the years and if I have ever seen bullying. I have. In fact, I was the victim of a boss who was a bully. It happened early in my manufacturing career, some 25 plus years ago. 

Let’s call him Oscar, and note that I’ve changed his name for the purposes of this piece. He was actually the best friend of one of the best managers I’ve ever had at the company and had a reportedly stellar career in the military industrial complex. He came into a growing business in a building market to provide some structure and experience to a relatively young workforce. But instead of working with them he maintained a hierarchy of command with several lieutenants who took on his persona. A collegial culture was being ripped apart, all because of Oscar. 

He was a political beast who threatened those around him, unless you worked for his past employer and then you were given immunity. In fact, you were promoted to be in his inner circle, a circle who paraded about with am empowered (cocky, really) attitude that belittled anyone who was not part of Oscar’s club. “I’ll tell Oscar” was a familiar game if a supplier was late, there was a quality issue, or you needed to take a day off. And when Oscar found out he would walk into your office and stare you down. He was intimidating and knew it and his power radiated out though his gang. Oscar enjoyed getting into your head.

Up to Oscar’s addition to the management team, I had enjoyed a solid career at the company. It quickly became evident that I was not a favorite of Oscar’s and he relieved me of my management responsibilities. I was put into a ‘special projects’ role of little consequence. When I complained to the senior manager, Oscar’s friend and really a great boss, he spoke with Oscar. The result of that meeting was Oscar screaming at me and demanding my resignation, knowing that I had two babies at home. The big boss intervened but the damage had been done. I quickly found a job outside of the company. 

A year later Oscar was fired and his gang moved on. The damage had been done and the company lost some decent people who were either forced out or did not want to put up with the drama. Oscar also alienated many suppliers and that was also damaging to the company. He was brought in to manage growth and he damaged the company. He was a culture killer.

But all was not lost. I learned some very valuable lessons on how to treat people. So Oscar, you actually did provide some value to me….and those I’ve managed through the years. Call me the anti-Oscar.  




Tags: Professional development Purchasing careers Strategic sourcing Supply management Procurement
Category: Blog Post

Rich Weissman

user_avatar

Endicott College Assistant Professor Rich Weissman teaches management courses for the School of Business and the Van Loan Graduate School. He is also the director of corporate education, which includes the Center for Leadership, Endicott’s management development institute. He is vice chair of the planning committee and also serves on the technology committee and the Institution Review Board.  A practitioner turned educator, Weissman has more than 25 years of experience in all facets of procurement and supply chain management. He has held positions with large business units of Fortune 500 companies, medium-sized contract manufacturing companies, small venture-backed Internet startup firms, and third-party procurement, consulting and strategic sourcing firms. 

Rich holds an M.S. in Management from Lesley University and a B.A. in Economics from Rutgers University. He is past president of the Purchasing Management Association of Boston and a recipient of the Harry J. Graham Memorial Award, the highest honor bestowed by the association.


Please add a comment

You must be logged in to leave a reply. Login »


Related Content

Overcoming the Obstacles to Improved MRO

George E. Krauter

In the world of MRO operations, even with multiple attempts to change, improve, increase reliability, the status quo in most plants seems to prevail. Read More

Procurement vs. Cyber Attacks: Who Can Win in the Long Run?

Jaime Leonard

Procurement organizations need to call on their suppliers to increase IT security to mitigate risks against cyber threats. Working with suppliers that take IT security into heavy consideration will be critical Read More

Digitalization of Procurement Becoming More Feasible for Stakeholders

Dennis Bouley

The recent growth of Internet connected industrial and personal devices has been referred to as the “Internet of Things” (IOT) revolution. In fact, this trend is really an evolution that has been underway for Read More


Supplier Profiles

Staples

Staples Advantage is the one supplier that offers all the business solutions you need, all with the expertise of a specialty vendor. Read More

Digi-Key

It started in 1972 with an idea, a new concept in distribution. Today, Digi-Key Corporation is one of the fastest-growing electronic component distributors in the World. The stimulus for this growth is Digi-Key's customer-centered business philosophy… Read More

Lunney Advisory Group

Lunney Advisory Group was founded in 2007. Our firm is not your typical consulting company. Some members of our firm are highly qualified and experienced industry executives/practitioners while others are full time or adjunct university professors.… Read More


Webcasts

What CEOs Expect Of Purchasing

Guest Contributor

Procurement and supply management leaders have a seat at the table, and management’s expectations are high. But what do CEOs really want, and is purchasing delivering on these expectations? This webcast looks at how procurement and supply management … Read More

Growing Purchasing Influence On Indirect Spending

Guest Contributor

At world-class companies, purchasing’s influence touches just about every area of spending. But, how exactly do procurement teams get to the point where other departments approach them for help with sourcing such indirect categories as human resource… Read More

Procurement-Finance Collaboration

Guest Contributor

Procurement & finance are two business functions which are often at loggerheads with each other. One reason for this is the lack of perception alignment on an important metric of procurement and finance performance - 'savings'. Read More