• I recently read about an up and coming executive who up and left a company when it didn't look like he would get the top job at that company.

    Everyone was surprised, except some I talked to in that company.

    They said he just wasn't a nice guy. Nice to his bosses, sure. Nice to his board, absolutely. Those guys loved him.

    But apparently the little guys did not. And talk was, there was a mutiny or darn close to it.

    They hated him.

    They said he sucked up to people that mattered, but was a monster to those who did not.

    Abusive, mean, curt, rude, dictatorial — you name it, this guy did it. He was reportedly fond of chewing out employees in public, but ingratiating himself to higher-ups in private.

    I've seen this so often. My mom used to say you could tell the caliber of a man not by the way he treats those from whom he can get something, but those from whom he can get nothing at all.

    She was right. Some of the best CEOs I have ever known were effective up and down.

    They were genuinely good people, as tough on themselves as they were on others. But fair and right and decent throughout.

    Perhaps because they recognized that you can spend your time sucking up to an authority or make a difference by remembering an even higher authority.

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