In my donkey years working for SQ I had come across a number of bosses who were tyrannical in their treatment of subordinates but appeared subservient towards their superiors.
I've personally witnessed a manager whom I had problems with, kowtowing to the svp when we were both summoned to the office.Before that,the manager was shouting and threatening me with disciplinary action. The next moment when we were hauled up to the svp's office,that same manager suddenly became a soft spoken lamb. He agreed with everything svp said and kept nodding his head like a "seow err" (small 2 or a yes man). However,the svp was not easily fooled and believed in my innocence.
One day,when I had the chance to meet that same svp,he told me privately he had worked with that manager long before they were in cabin crew and knew him to be an ass who got his promotion by licking his former boss's balls.
After lots of complaints from his subordinates,that manager was subsequently moved out of our department,much to our jubilation.
Another manager would advice us not to argue or go against anything our svp would say at our meetings,even if he made an ass of himself.
The manager told us "if svp says black is white,you just agree with him and everything will be fine". A few years down the road that manager was given the early retirement.
An svp once advice me not to go against him whatever the circumstances might be. He told me in order to climb the corporate ladder one has to be a blue eyed boy of the big boss. He boasted he was his svp's runner/coffee boy when he was a struggling junior executive. He was promoted because he was likable.
One svp who was a tyrant in the office behaved like a dog with it's tail behind the legs when the then NTUC General Secretary Devan Nair came to chastise us for getting involved in union politics.
I didn't heed the advice of some of those wise men so much so I was offered the early retirement back in 2003. On hindsight it was my gain and SQ's loss to have retired me prematurely.