Monday, March 24, 2008

"Absolute Power" – a Detroit mayor, an instructor, and a ceo and now "the bully (updated 3/15/08)


"The highest proof of virtue is to possess boundless power without abusing it." Lord Macaulay

Mayor will not resign, seeks 'full and complete vindication'


In light of the recent chaos, circus and clown involving the Mayor of Detroit I am posting this post that I wrote in April of 2005. Three years later and one re-election the situation has only got worse.

qualityg says ... Where is Governor Granholm when you need her. She is a lame duck but refuses to act except to say Mayor should not use the "N" word. How about the "R" word and Remove him immediately so the city can move on ...


qualityg says:

If you don't display integrity or you're not sincere, I don't want to work for you. And,
“ I hate rude behavior in men, I won’t tolerate it.”
(that's from Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove).

By not standing up and refusing to speak/heard is viewed by those in authority as an approval of their actions.

I have always been fond of the teachings of Marcus Aurelius - Marcus Aurelius (121-180 A.D.) left behind a record of accomplishment anyone who has ever held or aspired to power, political or otherwise, would envy.

Marcus Aurelius was a man of unimpeachable integrity in a world seething with corruption, a ruler who easily countered Lord Acton's dictum that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. For here was a man with absolute power in every sense of the word, who chose to live more in the manner of a monk than in the style of a Caesar, though he was a Caesar in full control of one of the greatest empires ever known to man.

Growing up I always went out of my way to confront bullies, I also have problems with anyone or any system that starts to control my life or others and leaves one with a sense of "I own you asshole!" Don't get me wrong, I have worked for some good leaders that I have gone to the mat and beyond for because they had integrity and an attitude that I need to earn your respect, because it doesn't come automatically with the position of authority.

Lately, I have come across three examples of absolute power that drives me crazy! It's about a mayor, an instructor and a ceo. I have chosen not to put names with these examples, not out of fear, but because there are so many.


Let's assume this mayor is in charge of the biggest city in Michigan. This mayor when elected brought an aura of excitement, youth and a personality that could help the city move forward and begin to revitalize.

If you have read some of my qualityg sayings you will know that I said, the first priority of a new leader is putting together his/her own top team. It must be cohesive. It must have aim. In addition, if you are young and have limited experience in running a large city or corporation, it is vital to access your strengths and fill your weaknesses with good people.

This mayor built a strong cohesive team and they do have an aim, they just don't have any idea what they are doing. Unfortunately, the city is in financial turmoil, and the easiest way to fix this problem is to cut heads and services.

What astonishes me most, no it's not the fact the mayor has hired high school friends in key positions with no experience (facts are well documented), and no, it's not the fact he has the highest paid bodyguards in the nation, in fact I think he has the only bodyguards in the nation for mayors. What grinds me the most is the fact that all integrity has been lost through countless scandals and the fact that the mayor's office (why does a bodyguard make more than a police officer) nor the city council is taking any cuts to lead by example. In fact the city council is asking for a 4 percent raise in their budget. How ridiculous when the property owners will be getting a higher tax on property sales. By the way, this city has a foreclosure rate that is well beyond 50 percent.

I always chuckle when I hear the mayor state "I used to be a football player" when he feels threatened or wants to act tough. Maybe he was a quarterback, since he has to be surrounded by big tough guys. NOT! he was a lineman, and he must be pushing 275 pounds or more.

4/18/05 - I just read a short article on who are the "worst" mayors in the United States by Time Magazine. Guess who is one of the top three?


While out walking my dogs the other day I came across one of the girl's I used to coach when she was in grade school. I asked her how it was going and she said "I hate college (largest public university in Michigan), the instructors treat you like a number, just last week my instructor changed the rules for grading in the middle of the semester. When I asked why, he said because he could."

How many of you or you're children run into this situation. Countless instructors in every level of education run their classrooms like fiefdoms and they are the duke/duchess. King Tenure protects them.

qualityg says:

Education, particularly some college academia's with letters after their name anger me with their self-indulgence and insecurity about anyone else that may have an opinion in their subject area and arrogance. Just because they know a subject well doesn't make them smarter, well maybe in their area of expertise, however, it does not give them the right to intimidate (grades) or teach by absolute power to a captive audience (classroom).


Nothing gets me more excited than to read another scheming, cheating absolute power ceo got his/her just rewards. It really pains me to know he/she can't show their face at the country club (they can surely still afford the membership, it's the ego that humbles them).

I just thought of a way to make money, start an ex-ceo club. Let's name it "Bastards," where all assholes (ex kmart officials, enron sissies - lay and skilling, etc) are welcomed. bernie ebbers could be the party planner, after I saw the birthday party he held, and paid for it with company funds on TV he surely gets my vote.

Forbes ran a great article the other day "Mourning the Imperial CEO" check it out at:

Please note, I am aware I did not capitalize the names of people or companies. They don't deserve my respect.

ABSOLUTE POWER AT ITS WORST – the bully 5/3/05

the bully

When I wrote the original post about absolute power on 4/16/05 I deliberately did not add “the bully” to my list. There has been so much written on the subject over the past few years it has become one of our society’s primary concerns about safety and our children.

Before I wrote about the bully, I wanted to find an example that would provide me the anger and emotion of what these kinds of “punks” do to defenseless individuals.

Well I did not have to find one; it found me in an article I read last Sunday (5/1/05). I get upset when people/system mess with children or old people. In this case it was a child.

Before reading the article, I saw a picture of a young girl that jumped out at me even before I read the article – “ Teaching Tolerance.” I could feel the despair and pain that was exhibited from her face. It was equally matched by the quotes from her mother within the story.

If you have read any of my other posts you know I’m concerned about children losing creativity for learning. Part of being a child is to explore new surroundings and environments and to learn by trial and error. I guess it’s OK to explore or learn as long as it’s the norm. Too far right or left and you will be criticized, if the subject is not widely understood, one can get hurt, as did Tempest Kayne Smith, she committed suicide.

If you are interested, you can learn more about this tragedy and how you can help at:

This tragic story and others like it should be a constant reminder for all of us to work together to stop this behavior in our schools.

qualityg says…

Note: the following statements are not meant to be a solution or a remedy for handling ‘the bully,” it is intended to describe one person’s experience – mine.

I have met many bullies in my time and have grown to deal with them determining on the circumstances. During my formal school years I confronted them, being small in stature, myself and others were often targets. When I confronted them they thought I knew something or I was crazy. They were correct on both accounts.

You see, it was a win/win situation for me, and a lose/lose situation for ‘the bully.” The reason being, he was expected to win by intimidation or force. Fortunately, I had many friends who were also victims of the occasional bully; at least we could stick together. That was not the case for Tempest, she was alone when attacked by the bullies, she had no friends or adult school supervision that understood her or who could protect her from the constant ridicule. Unfortunately we have seen tragedy after tragedy in the news when one veers from the so-called norm.

In the military there were many type types of bullies, the worst of course was the serviceman/servicewoman that outranked you in authority (remember when I wrote Hierarchy does not equal Intelligence).

Those bullies reminded me of the kids who always got picked on in school and went on to become cops, or should I say they became bullies because they could.

I would be remiss to not state that I served under some of the best military leaders one could ask for in times of turmoil and strife. Captain Thomas Meeks (decorated chopper pilot) was one of those leaders; he did not tolerate his officers or any other person to ridicule or use their authority to browbeat his men. Captain Tom treated us with respect, dignity, integrity and honesty (isn’t it sad I say this as if it’s not the norm). He followed military rules and regulations that made sense, but he also understood some of them depended on the situation and what kind of soldier he was dealing with at the time.

When he gave an order we didn’t follow it because we had too, we did it because we wanted too!

For those bullies that continued with their absolute power, well in those days….

The work place brought out all kinds of bullies, of course the hierarchical, the screamer, the tyrant, and sometimes the bully was all of them at once.

Earlier in my career I put up with that kind of behavior because of the responsibility to my company, my boss, my team and my family. I was a loyal employee who thought eventually “the bully” would be discovered and removed (no I don’t need any swamp land in Florida). Besides, I usually just told myself they were assholes and couldn’t help being ignorant.

My tolerability for that kind of leadership has become very thin in recent years. I no longer have the loyalty, but I’m still responsible for my team and my family. However, to remain totally silent would not be qg style.

I always follow the mantra that Woodrow F. Call (Tommy Lee Jones) said in the TV mini series Lonesome Dove. “ I hate rude behavior in men, I won’t tolerate it.”

Not too long ago my team reported to a VP (let’s call him “John”) who was the hierarchical, the screamer, the tyrant, and sometimes the bully all at once. I was required to be on conference calls with him twice a week. The agenda was usually the same, team leaders report out the results numbers, get beat up, change the numbers, get beat up next week, change the numbers again to what they want and get an “Atta Boy” the following week. It was common knowledge that if you did not produce quickly you would be gone (moved to a “special” project, then moved out the door).

Because of budget restraints travel was not allowed, I never got the chance to meet this sweetheart face-to-face, all communications were by Email and Conference Calls and phone calls if you were dumb enough to pick the phone up without checking Caller ID.

Usually I sat in my office with my door closed and the speakerphone on mute and listened (often laughed at his antics), sometimes if he was on a tangent I would run down the hall to the men’s room and come back without missing a beat.

It’s always fun to hear your name come across the speakerphone to cause instant stress. Before I could even register what he was talking about I could hear my name any my team being bombarded as to why did you do this, how come the numbers were good last week but not this week (note: leaders like this will never understand variation). Don’t you #*&*# know what you’re doing? I finally was able to stop him by holding down the * key (usually meant someone had a question). John said “WHAT!” I was gonna quote Tommy Lee Jones, but instead, I said my team averages about 20 years service and they are experts in their field and I would appreciate it if you talked to us like adults, and then (I just had too) I said, you wouldn’t talk like that if we were sitting in the same room.

Oh boy! You could hear jaws hit the desk from around the country, he ignored my comment and went back to his tirade, and I hung up.

I don’t recommend using this tactic; after all, he has been promoted to a very high position for his leadership style, why should he change?

For some expert advice on dealing with a bad boss, please see:

updated 5/23/05

Power and control drive school bullies

But silent majority can stop torment, experts say

May 23, 2005


qualityg says... a good article keeping the focus on this problem in our schools.

update 8/16/05

Excellent article at Alyson Schafer's site on bullying - check it out @ Alyson Schafer Site

Alyson is a psychotherapist, parent coach and popular public speaker. She teaches parent education classes and works with parents one-on-one in her parent coaching practice.

qualityg says ...

"I am convinced that absolute power is the result of absolute fear. Those in charge are more afraid of losing their control than actually controlling the person or situation."


Anonymous said...

"Bastards"....I love it!

KOcamps22 said...

Yes, working 'under' bullies in the workforce can be annoying. I worked under a 400 lb bully (a giant man, but he knows he wouldn't go toe to toe against me) at a simple parks and rec job who thought because he worked there for 5 years he could make me carry in 3 art tables and 15 chairs in 90 degree weather all by myself, while he sits back in the a/c and cools his sweaty face. When I refused the task I got on a bad side with the head of department which after "Huey" reported me,'always' sides with the higher ranked bully over any worker under him. Bullies feel they can get away with it because of their security within the job.

qualityg says said...


looks like qg could use you on my team.