Friday, April 13, 2007

Crazy Bosses Hall of Fame

An entertaining read at CNET: the Crazy Boss Hall of Fame, featuring stories of swearing CEOs and bathroom reading that's circulated daily. Weird stuff in there, it might make you feel better if you work for a nutcase. I don't like the suggestion that I always get in these articles that because they're aggressive and nasty they succeeded in business (maybe I read it in, but it's caused by close juxtaposition of wacky antisocial story with glory story of million dollar business win).

But there are some good failures in there too, like Craig Benson of Cabletron who also failed in politics. Anyone else find irony in a guy who ran a company like a "military environment" and then ran for office on a libertarian-bent of "less government in people's lives." He had a virtual staff and virtual volunteers, with whom he had (virtual?) affairs. He ran standing meetings from behind a standing desk -- leading to a great quote from the article link above:

"It is," Peterson said, "the most efficient way to reach the wrong answer in the shortest amount of time."

Best-selling books touting surprising management styles keep coming. First Break All The Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently has 227 positive reviews on Amazon right now. Hopefully, being a great manager isn't just about finances but includes something about work culture, too. I'd like to think you don't have to be an asshole to do good things for the company. Meanwhile, breaking the rules doesn't make you an asshole either -- a senior VP at a former company criticized a move I made as a manager for an employee of mine on the grounds that "I've never heard of anyone doing that before!" Yes, it really was intended as a criticism, and probably said more about him than me, alas.

Relevant past posts on ghostweather: Is Your Boss a Psychopath? And Past and Current Employees and Your Reputation, not to mention, Demotivation and Burnout.

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