The boss from hell

Barry Salzberg Recalls That His First Boss Was a Jerk, Being From Brooklyn Had Its Disadvantages

Dr. Phil doppelgänger and incoming Deloitte Global CEO Barry Salzberg spoke at Wharton recently about leadership and how it has changed quite a bit since he started at Haskin & Sells in 1977. He riffed about the old days in his speech including how jackets were all but mandatory (especially if you were from Brooklyn) and the aforementioned boss from Hell:

“In those days, [Deloitte] was a fancy, formal place,” Salzberg recalled, “so formal that you would get bawled out — and I did — if you were caught in the hallway without your jacket, especially if you arrived speaking a foreign language like Brooklynese.” His first leadership lesson came on his third day. “Bosszilla,” as he calls his first boss, asked him for a photocopy of a tax ruling. Eager to please and show off his legal savvy, Salzberg included his own two-page interpretation. “Mr. Salzberg,” Bosszilla hissed, “I asked you for a copy of the ruling, not your interpretation. One copy, stapled.”

Of course, the Big Salz knew that this wasn’t how he wanted to lead so you can bet your signed copy of As One that he spends plenty of time at the Xerox machine. Another leadership trait that has gone the way of the Dodo is that CEOs don’t mingle with the commoners. Bar is out there mixing it up on the regular:

“What I do is get out and talk to people to give them the opportunity to share. And then what you have to do is act on it, so people understand that you can change your mind.” As head of Deloitte’s U.S. operations, Salzberg visits as many as 25 to 35 offices every year, sitting down with partners to hear their concerns. When he becomes global CEO, he plans to travel more, he said. “There’s nothing that can replace face-to-face interaction. Getting the rubber on the shoes worn out is how to do it.”

And of course, in this day in and age, you simply can’t ignore animal metaphors:

“No burying your head in the sand if there’s a problem, and no ignoring the elephant in the room. Much better to name and tame an issue, no matter how difficult it is,” than to ignore it or pretend it isn’t there, he said. “Making sure the truth is told and discussed with all is the foundation of leadership. Without that, you can’t build trust.”

Got it? Ignoring problems – even the really tough ones – is a thing of the past:

Deloitte CEO Barry Salzberg on Leadership as ‘the Norm, Not the Exception [[email protected]]

Norwegian Businesses Take Bathroom Access Far More Serious Than Ernst & Young’s Long Island Office

You may remember way back in January when we told you about Ernst & Young’s Jericho office putting the clamps down on its water closets. The long/short of it was that the firm made them only accessible by key like some flithy gas station shithouse.

As bad as that is, some businesses in Norway are taking things a bit further:

A boss in Norway has ordered all female staff to wear red bracelets during their periods – to explain why they are using the toilet more often.

The astonishing demand was revealed in report by a workers’ union into ‘tyrannical’ toilet rules in Norwegian companies. The study claimed businesses were becoming obsessed with lost productivity due to employees spending too much time answering the call of nature. It found 66 per cent of managers made staff ask them for an electronic key card to gain access to the toilets so they could monitor breaks. Toilets in one in three companies were placed under video-surveillance, while other firms made staff sign a toilet ‘visitors book’, the report by the Parat union said. It added: ‘But the most extreme action was taken by one manager who made women having their period wear a red bracelet to justify more frequent trips to the loo. ‘Women quite justifiably feel humiliated by being tagged in this way, so that all their colleagues are aware of this intimate detail of their private life.’

Now we don’t know if the key system is still in place in Jericho (residents can let us know) but this should give you pause.

Boss orders female staff to wear red bracelets when they are on their periods [Telegraph via DB]