Tough Management – Way Over The Top

France Telecom’s former chief executive, Didier Lombard, is under investigation for his role in a wave of over 30 staff suicides, accused of advocating tough management practices amounting to psychological harassment. (Source)


No job or organizational problem is worth a person’s life. If the allegations prove true, my guess is that France Telecom’s management had a myopic focus on the controversy they were involved in, to the complete exclusion of protecting the welfare of their employees. Was it brute force – reach their desired ends at any cost?


As a manager how do you balance the welfare of your team members with the goals of your organization? Here are a few questions to help you assess.

  • When a crisis or high pressure situation confronts your team, do you react impulsively or think out what is happening?
  • What is your first concern when your team confronts a crisis or high pressure situation?
  • Do you consider yourself responsible, in any way, for the personal welfare of your team members?