May 29, 2023

Richardson Column in The Free Lance-Star

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson’s weekly column in The Free Lance-Star discusses TREATING PEOPLE WITH RESPECT.


Once upon a time, there was an organization. This organization welcomed a new head person. This person had come from a similar organization where he had years of experience as the head guy.

Months into the new person’s tenure, a beloved manager was visited by the new boss—she was not doing things as he expected. Even though she was an expert, he wanted to tell her how to do her job. She pushed back a bit. At the next staff meeting, with all of the managers in attendance, he demeaned her in front of her peers.

Appropriately, she went to him privately after the meeting and expressed her distress at being berated in front of her colleagues. He was dismissive of her remarks. She soon resigned.

People in the company took sides. There were those who thought he was well within his rights to have both told her what to do and, when she wasn’t willing to roll over, talk about her to her colleagues. Others were appalled at his behavior. Certainly, they agreed, he could express his desires about how she did her job, but they could not believe he made derogatory remarks about her in front of her peers.

Many in the latter group went to the employee who resigned and asked her to reconsider. She would not. A schism formed within the organization.

What went wrong? Read more.