Recently, in Business Ethics class, we watched a video on the rise and fall of Barton Watson, founder of CyberNET Engineering. I found a lot of interesting points in the film that dealt with leadership, or lack there of. Now Barton became very rich very quickly. He resold Compaq computers and helped with installation for customers. Although his intentions seemed good on the outside, what was actually going on inside the company was very troubling. Barton began taking loans based off of forged financial statements, which lead to obtaining luxury cars, houses, etc. This lead to FBI investigations, and the eventual arrest of Watson. The actual story itself is not what I want to get across. My point is that there was a flawed sense of leadership that lead to this outcome.
Barton, from the start, could care less about his employees and how they would be affected by his actions. He completely ostracized his followers. Many employees complained about him hiding information from them, and not giving them the time of day to talk with him. The only opinion he valued was his own, and if you disagreed, you were sent packing. Also, some employees had their suspicions and doubts, but the ones that were doing ok at the company seemed to let their doubts slide. No one took initiative, because at the end of the day, they had a job that provided them profit. I think also they were scared to approach Barton about his tactics. This is another good example of a case where when things are going ok, ethics don’t always come first.
Barton’s main leadership flaw was that he didn’t care about his followers, and didn’t make them feel important. He did things on his own whether the employees agreed or not. With this attitude, eventually someone is going to blow the whistle of the operation, which was what happened. In the end, alienating your followers does not help out your case, but instead eventually crumbles your team and turns your followers against you.