Why Be A Bully?

Reading about Scott Rudin this week just made my stomach turn. There were too many “screamers” when I worked at Macy’s out of college. I’d hear the same thing from friends in other industries. People would be abusive, they would scream, they would take pleasure out of making you feel like shit. Why?

I told a founder a few months ago; it doesn’t cost you anything to be kind. You catch more flies with honey. Maybe it is just fear of failure. You can’t micromanage a growing company. You can’t expect anyone to work as you do. Everyone works in different ways, and as long as they get it done, that is all that counts.

I have always been a fan of giving people very long ropes. Expecting that they will do the right thing. Being positive and praising work well done. When there is an issue, it is about being transparent and honest, not being nasty. It doesn’t get you anywhere. We have witnessed several founders of start-ups publicly be called out for atrocious behavior. Perhaps with Scott Rudin, we will begin to see even more, and honesty, it is about time.

I have heard countless stories over the years of bad management but the ones that infuriate me are the ones where someone in upper management, particularly a founder, bullies the people who work for them. It creates an unworkable culture. The reality is that is not how you build a successful company. That is how you build a miserable place. Goals are met when everyone is a champion.

It isn’t easy for someone who is being bullied or put in a position where they are sexually harassed, but it is just as important for each of us to stand up the second something is wrong. To stand up and say, do not talk to me like that. Would you want someone to talk to you like that? Or do say, do not hit on me. Do not say these things. I realize how fearful that is, but nobody needs that shit.

I remember saying something to a founder years ago who made all the employees come in when the city was shut down from locations far away. It was absurd. I asked her how she would feel if the tables were flipped? Bottom line, we should all treat people with the respect they deserve. When you treat people well, the results are far better.