Simon Maier is a thoughtful and measured agency director who has sailed some large corporate accounts through many choppy events waters. Over a long and rich career he’s obviously seen plenty of prima donnas and megalomaniacs close up.
For his new book, he casts his net wide and out into the wider business world in all its forms to bring us tales of outrageous and malicious behaviour and bullying.
The series of short tales are harrowing reads in themselves, but Maier then draws conclusions and offers advice to help those in similar situations break free. Salutary stories indeed that most will relate to at least partially.
Maier sets the scene by noting that “although most good quality and well-managed organisations foster positive environments on a macro level, it’s likely that at least a few mid-level toxic managers are causing terrible problems at the micro level.”
Maier says that, behind the scenes and without the knowledge of people at the very top, evil executives can often be malicious, vicious, insidious or draconian in their actions towards targeted employees. They isolate staff, then divide and conquer by targeting certain workers for abuse and others for favouritism. The focus is often based on non-job-related factors. And once the target is in their grasp, they seldom let go.
“Such manoeuvres eviscerate any semblance of employee motivation, job satisfaction and organisational loyalty. Evil executives make environments dangerous places for their victims and colleagues, resulting in lower overall performance,” says Maier, who quotes someone from a meeting he attended as evidence of a type of pervasive cynicism: “If you are not a predator, you will become someone’s prey”.
The book offers tales of evil executives from all around the world: from caricature Russian crooks to weasly American bullies with fake qualifications and even more false smiles.
There’s the tale of the corporate communications executive who is summarily fired during a conference call with 1,000 of his colleagues looking in. His sin? Taking photos of proceedings as requested…by the boss who sacked him.
Then there is the story, in her own words, by the only woman in a scamming start-up Stateside. This marketing executive’s story reads like an episode from The Wolf of Wall Street. She was blamed for every ill and finally assaulted. Nobody stood up for her.
There is the boss who brazenly eats his employees’ home made lunch in Nairobi. In fact, Maier’s book is full of examples of the toxic nature of evil executives and the damage they do. It gives advice on how to recognise these frauds and manipulators and how to manage in their presence.
At least four of the chapters are based on true life incidents in event businesses, some disguised. Hopefully, you won’t recognise the characters! The Evil Executive is designed to provoke serious thought and timely action against the myriad manifestations of evil in the workplace. It is an absorbing success.
The Evil Executive by Simon Maier is published by Mashall Cavendish Business.
Simon Maier is a communications expert who has worked in senior roles at large event agencies, including Grass Roots, TFI and Jack Morton. He is the author of several books, many drawing on his 25-year experience of working in the global events sector. His latest, The Evil Executive offers some shocking examples of bullying in the workplace.