Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Moving into Administration

BOND: Do you think – and maybe this is my ignorance of the kind of people you'd be working with – that the nature of the work, with this relatively new field of computers, attracts a person different than the norm one might have run into had you been a -- work in supply --

THEUS: Yes, yes.

BOND: -- or actually working as a trainer or what have you. That that, in turn, contributed to the relatively benign situation you found yourself facing with, that the nature of the people with whom you worked and the fact that you're in this new field --


BOND: -- made a distinction between what you might have experienced some place else?

THEUS: I certainly agree with you. Yes, I agree that the field of computers, electronics and so forth does attract people who are better educated, I should say, more technically oriented, are not as concerned with many of the social aspects of things and they accept you for what you know and for what you do.

BOND: They're not as concerned, could you say, with personality as they are with performance?

THEUS: You hit it right on the button, exactly. You state it so much better than I could. You're quite right. So I think that that played a part also, yes, very definitely. And then too, I had an opportunity to do some things that gave me quite a bit of exposure. I had the shop that we called analysis and presentation. It was taking computer data, putting it into presentation form, charts, graphs, that sort of thing, and then using that to brief the senior people. And on the base, the senior people are our command that was located above us, both from the States, the German representatives, and so forth. So I think that with that and working hard at that task, I gained a reputation of doing these kinds of jobs well. And also, I think that there may have been some concern that maybe this young guy now has a pipeline to someone who maybe able to get back at me if I don't treat him properly -- not any favors, but certainly not to do anything that would be out of line. I never had to use that, but I have to admit it came to my mind also, that if things didn't work, I don't think I would have hesitated about going to one of my superiors, perhaps at the next briefing or what have you, I probably would have dropped it by.

BOND: So, did you believe your colleagues and co-workers had this sense too, that "If I step out of line," so to speak...

THEUS: Yes, yes.

BOND: "There's a sanction that comes down against me." And in a situation where people are constantly being judged and evaluated, as to whether or not they're going to move up to the next level, this makes sense just not to do it, stay away from it.

THEUS: Yes, yes, yes.