The Leader the Wasn't

Zarathruster By Zarathruster, 15th Mar 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Jobs>Management

This is a non fiction account of a failed CEO in an international manufacturing firm.

The Leader the Wasn't

The Leader That Wasn't

How is a leader judged? What inherent qualities must a leader have to successfully lead people to a desired outcome? Is past success in a different time and place any indication of present ability?

All of these questions come to mind when taking a look at the most recent events that have transpired in a strange corporate reality of uninformed decisions, misplaced priorities and just plain bad actions.

Money is the fuel to make a business run and when someone siphons fuel in the middle of the night or by proxy, the business eventually grinds to a halt. The recipe for disaster is complete when a struggling start up is funded for a year and a new CEO is hired and is paid over double what the prior CEO made. The situation gets worse when Mr. Spendhappy hires, travels, prints and otherwise burns through cash like there is no tomorrow, comes up empty after four months and has grand dreams of acquiring investment capital with 10 days left to a board meeting. Is a leader judged by the amount of cash he burns through in the shortest period of time? Is the justification of outrageous budget expenditures an inherent quality of genuine leadership? Since our hero has raised large capital in different industries decades ago, does this means it’s reproducible in this day and age? The answer is a resounding No.

Giant egos from past successes are probably an unavoidable fact of life however when Sir Egomania speaks incessantly of his decades old accomplishments, it makes one cringe as it scorches your hearing for the umpteenth time. Enough already! My God man, even the office manager has heard enough of your “I am Gods gift to the universe” speeches! Please, I am begging you to shut the fuck up about yourself! Along with giant egos comes a haughty eyed disgust for the “little people” as he calls them. The snarky comments are tiresome and loathing especially when they are untrue. Our fearless leader can’t even distinguish between bandwidth and a fiber connection and has to make shallow, stammering remarks in regards to it. The only people that act like that are men that have never been in a fight and people you don’t trust because you cant have a beer with them. Must all leaders have giant insatiable egos and does their past behavior beget more abuse for future underlings, the ‘little people’? The answer is a thunderous No.

Teamwork and departmental communication are stalwarts of business success and must be ever present in a business environment. Apparently no one has informed Our Dear Leader of this. His method runs contrary to this universal principle. Captain Chaos chooses to hide away from engineering, (the creators of our product) and is more comfortable asking other employees about “..what is going on back there..?” He has been here for four months and has had one meeting with the entire staff. This meeting was heavily prefaced with “…We might not continue on as a business… We will definitely run out of money and we’re looking for outside investment… and – (my favorite) – “ ..don’t worry, all of you are very talented, I’m sure you will all find your passion in a new place to work, you don’t need to go jumping out of buildings or anything…– direct quote” Thank you Superman, for setting us all straight . Maybe you can take your jumping out of buildings advice and show us how its done! Do effective leaders hide away from the critical tasks at hand?
Do successful leaders have insular and elitist attitudes towards the people they are trying to lead? Has this game of hide and seek and debasing commentary worked for leaders in the past? I dare say No, not now nor ever.

Science fiction, fantasy and pipe dreams have their place in the world of literature however not in the world of business. Unfortunately, our Alpha Team Hero lives in this realm. Maybe Mr. President has a hearing problem because when engineers and inventors of the product scream to him that the product is not ready, he replies with “…why do you wanna rain on my parade..?” Let’s ship it! It works!. No sir, it doesn’t. And by the way, thank you for making me look like a horses ass for the fifth time by telling potential clients we are shipping and the product works – and the fact is, we are not shipping (again) and the product doesn’t work. Don’t worry dear reader, it gets worse! The actions listed above were used to create revenue schedules and yearly numbers! Out of thin air. To compound this atrocity, Mr. Revenue Man was dead sure that we would get another $1.15 million from the primary investor, one month ago. Oh he had his reasons, his false justifications and his phony projections. He really believed this heaping pile of manure and honestly thought it would go over without a hitch. He could not have been more wrong. Needless to say, the primary investor was enraged and told him absolutely no. Do leadership qualities include sociopath tendencies and an abject denial of reality? Are these acceptable leadership traits that have been applied in the past? A most resounding and vociferous No is the answer here.

Hidden agendas, ulterior motives and duplicitous actions should have no place in a successful business. To the contrary, our Dishonest Abe doesn’t think so. When a meeting is set to speak about the product we are working on and the conversation is diverted half way through the meeting to speak about something entirely different and beneficial only to the Head Corporate Spy, the definition of ulterior motive is achieved. As usual, I asked our leader, “how do you want to handle this meeting, who will speak, when and what about,” his response was ,“ I can handle it”. Handle it he did – he completely shanked our intended presentation, then went headlong into his “solution” that has nothing to do with why we were there in the first place. He asked me to “close my ears”, with a snarky, haughty eyed smirk and proceeded with his hidden agenda. It got stranger after we left when he practically teared up as we passed the hotel he lived in for a while when he moved to Mobile, Alabama. Thank God he didn’t drive me by the Azaleas he so happily proclaimed as a necessary viewing… Are all good leaders duplicitous in their actions? Are hidden agendas and ulterior motives a necessary requisite for leadership? God, I hope not.

Our brief examination of leadership has more so defined what a leader is not and should not become. The kingship of the above mentioned individual is coming to a bad end. We will run out of money, he will not secure new investment and our future is a question mark. It is a sad state of affairs and could have been avoided if our anti- hero was not ensconced with extraordinary spending power. I know this to be true because he told me that after next week, he will be “working from home”. Yeah, right – translation – looking for the next blood bag to attach himself to and drain in the middle of the night.


Ceos, Corruption, Incompetent Bosses, Leadership

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author avatar Zarathruster
Internationally Acclaimed Writer of Satire and Human Interest

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