Boss versus Leader – not so clear cut.

Boss vs Leader

No attribution. No copyright infringement intended. Let me know if it’s your work.

 

Intuitively, the picture resonates.  We’ve all had the petty-tyrant boss; the person who loves the sound of their own voice and is oblivious to the resentment and de-motivation they’re engendering.

And most of us can relate to the manager who loves to roll up his sleeves and jump in on the line.

But don’t be fooled.  There’s a problem with the scenario that this image paints, especially when it comes to larger teams with significant division of labour:

You can’t fly at 40,000 feet and be on the tarmac at the same time.

If you as the organizational leader are always “hands-on”, who’s doing your job?  To belabor the cheap analogies; if the captain is always in the engine room, the ship’s going to run aground.

So…

Don’t “lord it” over your team.  Challenge them, but don’t be a slave-driver.  Be nice, respectful, sincere, and above all, just.  But recognize that their job is not yours.  They need to be accountable for their role, just as you need to be accountable for yours.

In a pinch, get in the trenches and dig.  But if you need to do that regularly, you’re not doing your job properly; you’re just a very overpaid member of the team.

When it comes to that bromide about being “Hands On”, here’s the rule to follow:

Be hands-on as much as necessary, but as little as possible.

And over time, given that a part of your job as “boss” is to develop your reports, you should be hands-on less and less.  That will be easier if you master the art of delegation.

*   *   *   *   *

Apologies for all the links, hope they weren’t distracting and that you find some of the material useful.

Questions or comments – feel free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self Control. The Holy Grail of Success and Happiness?

Research over the last decade is supporting what should be intuitive:  the ability to control your self is causally linked to success in most aspects of life – academic achievement, career success, good relationships, happiness.

Think of it this way:  if you always did what you should, when you should, and if you could always delay gratification when the short term trade-off would lead to a greater long term benefit, would you be more successful, achieve more, be happier?

Peaked your interest?  I’m doing some research on this and hope to present some distilled and essentialized information and “how to” data in the not too distant future.

In the meantime, here’s a couple resources:

A set of lectures at Audible, by C. Nathan DeWall:

Scientific Secrets for Self Control

Paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology:

Self-Control Relies on Glucose as a Limited Energy Source:  Willpower is More Than a Metaphor

One hour lecture by Roy Baumeister:

What you need to know about “Astroturfing”, otherwise known as organized lying.

“Propaganda is to democracy what the bludgeon is to the totalitarian state”

~ Noam Chomsky

I’m no fan of Noam Chomsky, but he got that right.

I suspect that a good deal of what we see, hear, and read in the public domain is manipulated.  I posted on one aspect of that, the kowtowing of media companies to the wishes of advertisers and sponsors, here: When Truth Doesn’t matter. (Come back to it later?)

Now, deliberate programs of mis-direction, mis-information, obfuscation, and ridicule have a name: “Astroturfing

Here’s Sharyl Attkisson (@SharlAttkisson) on the faking of grassroots movements as campaigns of propaganda in the service of political, corporate, or other special interests.

I dislike the term, but here it’s apt; this is “must see“.

As a take-away, here’s what you need to watch out for when you’re trying to work out whether some position, opinion, or argument is truth or lying propaganda:

Charged language.

The truth usually comes calm and factual.  Liars and spinners use emotive rhetoric to cloak their lack of facts and proof.

Ad Hominem attacks.

If you can’t beat the argument, attack your opponent’s character.  Ridicule, discredit, impugn.  Straight from the Saul Alinsky playbook.

Questioning those who question authority.

Classic misdirection.  If they’re not questioning “authority”, but rather, questioning those that do, you have to wonder about their motivation.

 *   *   *   *   *

And because I fear that there’s serious astroturfing going on at a macro-political level, we’ll give the last word to a master of lying big:

“We have made the Reich by propaganda”

~ Joseph Goebbels

So you think you can write a professional letter?

The art of letter writing is not forgotten, at least not by Nicolas Di Tempora over at Copywriting in Action.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all the emails you receive at work were written like this?  Clear, to the point, effective.

Give the people you communicate with a break – see below to learn how to write compelling, concise, objective letters and emails.

And go see Nicolas’ website if you’d like more information and courses on writing effectively.

Professional-Letter1

Delivering Happiness

When I get time to read again, one of the first books on my list is “Delivering Happiness”, by Zappos founder, Tony Hsieh.  Also on that list will be several of the books in the presentation below.

Maybe there’s a few here for you too.  I’ve only read some of these, so can’t vouch for them all, but anyone who is as obsessed with team and customer happiness as Tony seems to be, must be at least a better-than-average judge of on-topic reading material.

Enjoy.

Nobody cares what you believe.

Never wear your beliefs as a badge of honor.

Calling yourself a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist, or Zoroastrian does not define you.

Your words and your behavior and your deeds; they define you.

Nobody needs to know what you believe in or don’t.

All we care about is interacting with you justly.  That means courtesy, honesty, and the trading of value for value, whether spiritual or material.

If I or anyone else have nothing you want, ignore us and go about your business. Well do the same for you.

When truth doesn’t matter.

Update ~ 25Feb15

Here’s a point-in-case of news being suppressed out of deference to a large-scale advertiser:

Peter Oborne quits Daily Telegraph over HSBC tax scandal reporting

That we don’t hear more often about journalists quitting over similar issues means either that that too is kept quiet or that most mainstream reporters value their paycheck more than their integrity.

See the original post (below) for the full context.

*   *   *   *   *

I was under the impression that the “mainstream media” – the big TV news channels, metropolitan daily newspapers, national magazines, and their respective online presences – were essentially mouthpieces of the government because they’re mostly owned by the same small clique of vested-interest cronies.

While that may be at least partially true, I always questioned what that meant in terms of changing administrations.  Would not the government of the day seek a different editorial slant depending on which ideological propaganda (left or right) they wish to broadcast?

Listening to Paul Craig Roberts in an interview with Stefan Molyneux, I’ve learned there is another parameter at play.

It seems the major news media are controlled by a handful of companies, run now by executives whose goal is not journalism, but rather, advertising revenue.  They are dependent on the government for their broadcasting licenses, and so are beholden not only to whichever administration is in power, but to an entrenched bureaucracy, the constituents of which, by the nature of their upbringing, their education, and their zeitgeist, are left-leaning progressive liberals with a vested interest in keeping ‘the masses” uninformed, or worse, misinformed.

So, the government wants to operate nefariously with impunity and needs certain “open secrets” to remain unknown (to most).  Mainstream media is happy to “toe the line” because as long as they have “sensation”, they’re happy.  Truth is optional when it comes to attracting readers/viewers, and thereby ratings, and thereby advertising revenue.

How else can one explain the almost complete lack of coverage of the tapped conversation (see below) between US Assistant Secretary of State Nuland and Ambassador Pyatt, which clearly reveals that the current US administration is conspiring to steer events in the Ukraine?  Those using only legacy news media sources were titillated by the “sensational” revelation that Pyatt expressed rude disdain for the EU, while hearing nothing of the conspiratorial nature of the conversation.

It cannot be that any self-respecting journalist would not be eager to report the far more important essence of the story, so one can only assume that editorial teams were under instruction to misdirect attention to the cussing and to ignore the scheming.

Interested individuals could of course find the truth, but that doesn’t matter.  It never matters that a tiny minority knows the truth in politics, the truth in economics, the truth in philosophy.  When the entrenched politico-economic power has a megaphone blaring its propaganda 24/7, the voice of reason is not heard by enough to make a difference*.

*But that will never stop us from trying.