Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
“Thank you for the dinner and a very pleasant evening. Have your car take me to the airport. Mr Corleone is a man who insists on hearing bad news at once.” — Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen, The Godfather (1972)
An essential quality of a good manager is the desire to seek bad news rather than deny it. An effective manager wants to hear about what’s going wrong before he or she hears about what’s going right. You can’t react appropriately to disappointing news if it doesn’t reach you soon enough.
Of all the bosses I’ve known who failed at this, a common theme that surfaces in my recollections is the desire to set a certain tone. The tone being, everything is going okay, all of the time. The workplace should be a happy-place. Other bosses were not quite so much into that, they were more into something like: You broke it, if it’s broken at all — each employee should feel accountable, therefore, as the sole author of any & all screw-ups, with everyone around him or her doing everything all wonderful & perfect. The latter deal with negative vibes, the former with positive ones. Both types of boss are guilty of retarding the crucial travel-path of bad news.
My experience within the managerial circle is very light, and it all has to do with the PM-level. That means I have no experience at all actually supervising staff, and what little I’ve done there has to do with tracking status. However, this melds seamlessly with the much greater experience I’ve had outside of management; status-tracking and problem-predicting is a baseline chore, one that’s never all the way done. All of these life-lessons, and the sometimes painful, sometimes hilarious events that have popped up from time to time, persuade me to believe the following: Setting the tone is overrated. A good argument can be made that it is not entirely out of the scope of a manager’s job. But it is mostly that.
The boss sees a potential for entirely losing-out on the ability to do the job of bossing, if the tone of the workplace gets out of hand; so the boss sets this tone, and in so doing, obstructs the flow of bad news.
It is true that you can’t fulfill the job of bossing if the office tone gets out of hand. But three other things are also true: One, that people are going to be happy or frowny-face pretty much no-matter-what, you can’t order them to be one or the other. Two, that if a central concern among everybody is the timely and appropriate handling of bad news, the tone will pretty much take care of itself.
Three: A lot of jobs cannot be done well, by someone who’s dreading moment-to-moment that he’ll fail entirely if one little thing gets out of hand. There are some notable exceptions, like brain surgeon, customer service rep, airplane pilot, soldier throwing a hand grenade, most of the time a construction-dude. Boss-of-the-office is different. That job cannot be done timidly; and it has to do with instilling a vision. Not a tone.
Looking in from the outside, I’ve come to see it as a very simple flow chart. Is the goddamn thing done yet? If no, keep plugging away. If so, then what’s the next thing? Find the next thing. It’s done, or it isn’t done. Either way, instill the vision, and not the tone.
I suppose after the really huge things are done, a few minutes of exception can be made for celebration. That’s a good top-down tone. Beats a Christmas party anytime. Make sure the victory is well-won, then order pizza. Pizza’s cheap.
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