Tom Martin, current executive-in-residence at the College of Charleston, and former client of Peppercom
as corporate communication chief at ITT, penned a fascinating opinion piece about abusive workplaces.
In his article, Tom, references conversations with several young people who complained about abusive bosses. These were heads of public relations agencies who, said the staffers, shouted, screamed and managed by fear.
Like Tom, I’m befuddled by the fact that leaders who are retained by Corporate America to manage image and reputation could be so oblivious to not ‘walking the walk’ themselves.
I once worked for a screamer and shouter and know how toxic such an environment can be. In that case, the CEO was a former NFL offensive lineman (talk about an appropriate job title), the firm was in the management consulting field and the times were decidedly different.
When the Council of Public Relations Firms, PRSA, Arthur Page and other professional organizations ‘screen’ for new members, they should include a background check on managerial style/corporate culture. And, prospective clients should conduct better due diligence in their searches (we’re rarely asked to discuss agency culture or our management style in new business pitches).
The Vince Lombardi School of Abusive Management should have died when the great Packers coach did. To hear that it is not only alive, but well, is depressing. To realize that such deportment is going unchecked in our own industry is a disgrace. We must police this sort of boorishness if public relations is to one day claim its long-coveted seat at the table.