Vince McMahon claims he's a good listener that never second-guesses a decision once it has been made and doesn't instil fear in his workers. Um, what? (Photo by Michael N. Todaro/Getty Images)
WWE.com isn't the only website to give Vince McMahon a big pat on the back for achieving the impressive milestone of the 1,000th episode of Monday Night Raw. In quite the coup, Bloomberg Businessweek has followed suit in return for an interview where he shared the secrets of his managerial success (their words not mine).
It's worth reading in full, as it's a bizarre mix of honest introspection and deluded fantasy from a half billionaire that clearly lives in a bubble. Vince McMahon's drive and dedication that he also expects from his workers, the love of bodybuilding to clear his head, an unwillingness to settle for boilerplate answers in job interviews and his hatred of complacency are all well documented. But hilariously his top tips included don't cultivate fear (not to mention listening to your employees and don't ever second-guess a decision once it has been made):
Certainly the best way to fail in management [is to be distant and imperious]. You shut people down. If you have all the answers, why is anyone around you? If your ego is so big, then there's no room for anyone else's. The fear stuff-that is so rotten. You have to earn everyone's respect. I have to do it every day. Sometimes I leave the office and I feel great. In military terms, I've got ‘scrambled eggs on my cap.' I've got medals dripping off my chest. When I wake up in the morning, they're all gone. You have to earn everyone's respect in business every day.
I'm sure some former members of his creative team will be having a good chuckle at that remark.
As Sharon Glencross documented in the past, there are so many McMahon family horror stories from the people that work closest with them, the writers that work ridiculous hours to come up with WWE's scripts 52 weeks a year, that it was hard for her to narrow down the worst instances to just a top ten, but here's a summary. Triple H tearing up scripts and slamming doors in faces when he wasn't booked to win, long meetings with no food allowed for their underlings, Vince ordering a meeting at short notice in his Florida home then not letting people in when they arrived, operating like a cult, Stephanie browbeating writers for acting like marks, not being allowed to sneeze in front of the boss, and Vince even trying to run Court Bauer off the road in a reluctant drag race. Sounds like a healthy workplace environment to be in!
Indeed, Matthew Randazzo V painted a similar picture of a creative team instilled with fear over the ever changing whims of the mighty WWE owners in an article for the UK's PowerSlam magazine a few years ago too:
New writers learn that a creative team survivor is a writer who understands that the McMahon family's faith in their employees is fickle, and impossible to restore when lost. The key to survival is simple: caution, caution, caution. Always agree with the McMahon's and their favourites, relentlessly curry their approval, never draw attention to yourself, never complain and never take a bold or risky step because a single stumble can be fatal.
It's not just the writers, as the majority of WWE wrestlers are just as worried for their jobs, if not more so. Recently, WWE quietly dropped the percentage of the house show gate they paid their talent, yet no-one complained at this drop in income, as everyone is simply too scared to rock the boat nowadays.
However, I'm not surprised that Bloomberg Businessweek was aware of none of this, as on paper, WWE is a very slickly run company that keeps a tight focus on the bottom line. Here, appearances are very deceiving.