Blackwill's Waning Goodwill
It’s one thing for the US ambassador to India, Robert D. Blackwill, to be diligent and driven at work, it’s quite another to combine these commendable qualities with arrogance and stifling display of superiority. And Blackwill is learning this the hard way. Last week, The Washington Post reported that the inspector-general’s office in the US State Department found the morale at its New Delhi embassy the lowest, and claimed the staff there had complained about their boss’ "autocratic management style". The report sparked rumours that Blackwill had been asked to resign, forcing the State Department to deny that such a move was being considered. A State Department statement read: "He has not been asked to resign. He has not resigned. He is not leaving his post."
For long, the trademark Blackwill style had been the staple of diplomatic-circle gossip, more so among his staff who found his imperious and workaholic ways deeply alienating. But hush-hush tales came into the open when Outlook’s editor-in-chief Vinod Mehta wrote an article, ‘Blackwill’s Round Table’ (March 11).
The article said: "If you differ with him...he will not only merely defend his position vigorously, he will ridicule, dismiss, harangue and reprimand the challenger making that individual feel three-foot tall." This The Washington Post report cited to bolster its argument about Blackwill’s autocratic style.
Mr Blackwill, we think highly of you. But, really, you don’t lose much in being amiable to your guests—and your staff.