Berg’s Eye Communications

Leading by Example

Mary T. O’Sullivan’s new book examines the thread between how executives implement their corporate mission and the state of employee morale.

Anyone working at a job or having a career has dealt with management. Some people who lead do so primarily with the company’s interest in mind. Others put themselves first over everything else. The way people in charge perform impacts company morale and employee productivity. When executive behavior matches company and employee values, we achieve positive results for all parties.

In many cases, stories about horrible bosses far exceed those who are giving and inspirational. After all, there was a movie made called “Horrible Bosses” (two of them, actually) that depict some of bad or inappropriate behavior and tactics used to keep employees down or “in line.” Also, can we ever forget the 1980 movie classic “Nine to Five,” starring Dolly Parton, Jane
Fonda and Lily Tomlin? They tied their horrible boss up in a chair and left him there!

Mary T. O’Sullivan, an executive business coach based in North Kingstown, decided to do something about that: namely, chronicle examples of bad bosses and toxic workplaces in print. Her new book, “The Leader You Don’t Want to Be,” talks about those instances of poor judgment and bad decisions that seriously jeopardized the careers of the hard-working people in large organizations. With several decades of dealing with some heavy hitters throughout corporate America, O’Sullivan demonstrates the differences between an effective leader and one who fails are profound.

“Most people have been around bosses who play favorites, give preferred projects to ‘their’ co-workers, or dump undesired work on others. Those are all easy examples of being ineffective,” Sullivan said. “Management styles vary from industry to industry, business to business, and person to person. The way one deals with those around them has profound consequences—good and bad. It becomes evident when someone in authority doesn’t have the knowledge of the job and begins sinking.”

Her book details the good, bad and ugly stories of bosses in ideal and less than ideal circumstances. Some leaders dealt with the problems head on and with grace and dignity leading to a successful conclusion. Often times, the situation went the other way and led to feelings hurt, egos bruised and ultimately, personnel changes.

The book details some of the well-known cases of bosses doing the wrong thing. One such case was the Boston Archdiocese Child Abuse scandal. The Church sought to silence those coming forward accusing priests of inappropriate behavior and not addressing the problem. Instead, they
kept quiet and, in some cases, moved the accused priests to other parishes. The Church leaders reasoned that this would solve the problem and the issue would go away…

…or so Church Leaders thought.

Instead of the scandal being “swept under the rug,” more people spoke out against the Church and their blind eye to what happened. Confidence in the Catholic Church and their leaders took a massive hit. It ended with the Church having to pay out millions of dollars to abuse victims and the head of the Boston Archdiocese, Bernard Cardinal Law, to resign. The Church has still not recovered from their missteps in the form of fewer parishioners, donations and mistrustful feelings about the Archdiocese.

O’Sullivan said those leadership lessons need to be learned for future generations on what not to do in handling such a delicate and life-shattering issue.

“One thing that we learned from this example was to not hide information because it will eventually come out,” she said. “The Boston Archdiocese made a critical mistake in keeping everything internal and not addressing the problems when they came to light. When they did, they did little to nothing to do the right thing. The results of their decisions were swift and drastic in the eyes of the public.”

“Leaders who choose to skirt the truth staring them in the face are going to meet severe repercussions in the process,” O’Sullivan added.

Mary is the owner of Encore Executive Coaching in North Kingstown. Her work involves helping individuals and firms determine the right road in gaining traction toward workable solutions. Her years in corporate America, at Fortune 100 companies, have given her the backstories involving the internal workings of management machinations. Mary has seen and experienced first-hand what works and what doesn’t. She can support the career professional who is stuck in their job or the company that wants to encourage teams in growth and achieve an improved bottom line.

She has spoken extensively at numerous conferences and workshops about today’s workplace and its many complex issues. Some of her favorite topics include gender equality, the “glass ceiling” and uniting women together, rather than undermining each other. She has also written many articles on these and other workplace-related topics.

For more details about Mary and her services, please contact her directly at or call her at 401-742-1965.
You may purchase O’Sullivan’s book on

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