8 Ways To Survive A Psychopathic Supply Chain Manager


I love a challenge, and I think it's when people least expect you to do something that you often do your best. Shayne Ward (English Musician)

It's an interesting title, huh?  That's exactly what we thought when we came across the editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald's Business Day written by Anna Patty (@AnnaPattySMH).

Patty reports on recently-conducted research that found a prevalence of individuals with psychopathic characteristics in corporate leadership roles. The research found that one in every five executives were considered psychopathic, the same ratio found in prisons. In the general community, the prevalence of people with psychopathic tendencies is one in 100.

Guess which corporate professional discipline saw the highest concentration? 

The research found that 21percent of 261 corporate managers in supply chain management show the highest concentration. 

We all know it. Working for a difficult client or manager in the logistics industry can be soul-crushing at times. The beauty is that it doesn't have to be this way. The question becomes are you ready to take up the challenge?  

Here are our top eight ways to succeed in working with a demanding client or manager in the beautiful scheme we call the supply chain. 

Set The Expectations

This is one of the first things that needs to be done before a working relationship begins. You need to know what is expected of you. You can't succeed until you know what is considered a success. Once this has been established, it should be written down and reviewed periodically with the client or manager. At these reviews, you will be able to say, "You said that 'x' was important in order for us to consider the relationship a success. We have achieved this specific goal." 

Have A Plan

Once you have established what is a success, you need to have a plan. How are you going to be able to achieve these operational goals? Map it out and share your master plan. This allows the manager or client feel that they are part of the process. It also allows them to see how well you're progressing. This is a big plus. It's just another way to open up the lines of communication and visibility. 

Know Your Stuff  

When you are working with a difficult manager/client, you have to come to them with knowledge, prepared to answer any question they may have. If you don't have the answer, make a list of the questions and respond back promptly. Difficult managers or clients want to feel that you are knowledgeable and on top of everything. Many times difficult clients or manager have trouble handing over control. Sometimes they feel that they are the only person who can make an operation run efficiently and effectively. When you are not able to answer questions quickly, you fall into this misconception.

Confidence and Positivity

Be confident and positive in your abilities. Demanding people can smell weakness. You should be confident in your abilities because there's the potential that confidence will be shaken.  

When a challenge is thrown your way, have confidence that you will achieve success. Communicate this to the individuals that you are working with. It's hard to please a demanding person, so it's important for you to stay positive in a potentially negative situation. 


Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. This is generally important for a supply chain, but even more so when working with a demanding person. Stay in front of them with communication. Make it your goal to contact them before they have the opportunity to contact you. 

Continuously Improve

You need to have the continuous improvement mindset when working with a difficult person in supply chain management. Typically, good is not good enough. They do not like complacency. They will always want you to strive to reach difficult goals. It is best to adopt this mindset. Always ask how you can improve the process. Where are areas of waste located? 

Recharge Your Batteries

Get plenty of rest and exercise. It's a tough job and it can be mentally draining. You need to keep your mojo working, so it's important for you keep energy levels high and your mind clear. You need to be able to take on any challenge that they may throw your way. 

Take Ownership - No Excuses

Mistakes will happen. It's inevitable. We are all human. What makes the difference is how we handle those mistakes when they happen.

"If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes." - John Wooden

It's important to own the mistake and correct the problem. Making excuses for why you were unable to achieve the desired goal is typically not a route you want to take with a demanding individual. 

Follow these tips and you'll find success in the challenges thrown your way by difficult managers and clients.

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Chadwick Heard

Written by Chadwick Heard

Brand Strategist| Technology Enthusiast| Logistics Professional