Is it time to stop being so kind to bullying CEOs?

Bezos is known for creating an adversarial environment at Amazon, as well as insulting and verbally abusing his employees


[Bill] Gates met regularly with Microsoft’s senior managers and program managers, and the managers described him as being verbally combative. Gates has been accused of bullying Microsoft employees.


And Elon Musk and Steve Jobs? Do we need to say more.

But there are many people who defend them.

“Musk is autistic and was bullied at school”. That makes it right? Personally, being bullied and then becoming one yourself makes you far, far worse.

One article on Steve Jobs defends the way he dealt with staff…

Whilst it would have been necessary for him to take a hard line at times, he was the CEO after all

And that makes it right?

He would often focus on the finer details or a matter, often to the point of obsession (or so it seemed to others). This meant that if something didn’t pass muster it wouldn’t get his approval.

Steve wasn’t shy in expressing his opinion on things and it wasn’t uncommon for him to prematurely close meetings if he felt something was wrong with the project in question.

His management style would often go against the grain for many employees who might have felt personally slighted at the time. 

Yeah, so he’s a bully. He was horrible to people, including famously firing them on the spot if they said the wrong thing (which Musk is known for too) or even fell asleep at their desk whilst working ridiculously long hours.

What all of these people have in common is that they ended up incredibly rich, doing so off the backs of the way they treated the people around them.

Do they therefore deserve their riches? Shouldn’t we stop adoring these people in the way that we do and demand better of the CEOs around us? I’m sure they think they’re the sole reason they’re so rich, but it’s those people around them, who they’ve treated so badly, that have done it. And, if by doing that was the only way to achieve it, was it the right thing to do?

Personally, I think we’d be just fine without them. Or, at the least, them with less money but better treated staff.


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