My father loved power and expressed himself through domestic violence and bullying. I never thought I’d see that in the workplace too.
As often happens with domestic abuse, I was vulnerable to being sexually abused, which happened between my fifth and eighth grades. Through good therapy, I found salvation in the two things I knew best: love and violence. I found football.
I loved the teamwork, friendships, drills, the strategy. I was also good. Eventually, I was recruited by numerous Ivy League universities. I chose Brown. During senior year I was offered a coaching position of Brown’s freshmen linemen. I jumped at the chance.
This led to a unique opportunity to coach with Don James, a mentor of coaches at the University of Washington or with reigning National Championship Coach and Sportsman of the Year, Joe Paterno, at Penn State. I preferred Coach James’s style, but my father bullied me into working for Paterno—and Jerry Sandusky—the two most vile and ruthless bullies in NCAA coaching history.
In addition to Sandusky’s horrific and hidden pedophilia, Paterno’s and his staff’s bizarre behaviors, abuse of power, control dynamics, bullying, selfishness, narcissism, and deceptions forever soured me to college football coaching. I was motivated to earn an MBA with a focus on how good sports concepts, namely great leadership and teamwork, can affect organizations.
From my experiences, bullying is epidemic. Victims may not realize they are being bullied, they may not know where to turn for help and advocacy, and they may not know how to stop this vile behavior.
Successful Leaders Aren’t Bullies presents actual bullying cases I’ve experienced and addressed in the workplace with clients over the past twenty-six years. It empowers good leaders to choose leadership and to understand the benefits of leading with healthy behaviors and to intervene and to stop bullying. It will inspire and mobilize bullied victims to overcome and to thrive by presenting examples of resilient and healthy individuals and organizations.
About the Author:
Matt Paknis is a senior management consultant with six years of college football coaching, ten years of playing football, 5 championship seasons whose focus is on lessening bullying in the workplace. He was a former assistant coach at Penn State under Joe Paterno and has spoken publically about being abused as a child. Matt Paknis transcended childhood bullying and the death of his young mom with teamwork and leadership. He has dedicated over twenty-five years of consulting to helping global clients embrace healthy management practices to thrive.