I’ve worked at Vons for almost two years now. I started as a sales associate in both the fashion and beads departments and was promoted to fashion department manager about a year ago. Vons is a store in West Lafayette that has several departments such as books, records, beads, rocks, bugs, and fashion. Although I’ve enjoyed working at Vons during my time at Purdue, the owner has taught me what bad leadership is like, rather than good leadership. I’m not here to bad mouth John VonErdmannsdorf, but the way he manages his company is not something that I would consider a goof form of leadership.

When John has an issue with one of his employees, he does not utilize the chain of command, but rather writes a letter directly to the person with his issues and puts it in their work mailbox. It is a very old fashioned approach. This tactic has made employees angry because he only allows one-way communication within his business and does not listen to or respect the opinions and thoughts of his workers. This makes the employees feel uneasy and the trust between them and John have weakened because of his actions.

A good leader would take the time to discuss the issues with the employee and listen to what they have to say in order to create a solution. He doesn’t come to me, one of his managers, to discuss problems either which I find odd and almost insulting. In order to show good leadership, you need to make your team feel worthy of your time and respected. Building good relationships with your team is very important when trying to run a successful business.

Another form of bad leadership that John has shown is that he won’t communicate what he expects from us to be done in the store, but then will complain that we aren’t doing anything right. A good leader communicates with their team and makes sure that they have a clear understanding of the expectations the leader has of them. Vons would be much more successful if there was more structure and overall better leadership from our “CEO”. Any team will succeed as long as they have a good leader and all have the same understanding on how to achieve their goals.


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