coromandal


the forest of buzzwords
June 25, 2016, 4:41 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: ,

As the culture of a business degrades the language euphemizes. As it improves the language clarifies.

In the degraded business, bosses are leaders; employees, team members; firing is letting go; something rotten is pleasant and neutral.

 

One of the strange things about the business world is the extent to which its jargon is euphemistic. When we talk about leaders, we’re talking about bosses. Yet for some reason bosses don’t like to admit what it is they do. That’s why employees become “team members,” why firing becomes “letting go.” In a way, it suggests that people’s human instincts are that capitalism is something rotten; the more you describe it with precision, the more horrendous it sounds. At the level of uplifting abstractions, derived from self-help culture, everything can be pleasant and neutral. It’s only when you hack through the forest of buzzwords that you can understand what is actually being discussed.

The Unendurable Horrors of Leadership Camp, Current Affairs



manifestations of hubris
June 12, 2016, 4:12 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , , ,

photo: Andras D. Hajdu

The ancient Greeks had a vote in which the most popular senator was ostracized because they understood the corrupting influence of power. Often it’s the most aggressive person who advances and not the most qualified, capable or instinctual, and it’s painful to be left behind. The talkers take charge of the knowers and feelers; confidence manages competence. Hubris is mistaken for leadership ability.

“In my view, the main reason for the uneven management sex ratio is our inability to discern between confidence and competence. That is, because we (people in general) commonly misinterpret displays of confidence as a sign of competence, we are fooled into believing that men are better leaders than women. In other words, when it comes to leadership, the only advantage that men have over women (e.g., from Argentina to Norway and the USA to Japan) is the fact that manifestations of hubris — often masked as charisma or charm — are commonly mistaken for leadership potential, and that these occur much more frequently in men than in women. ”

[…]

“This is consistent with the finding that leaderless groups have a natural tendency to elect self-centered, overconfident and narcissistic individuals as leaders, and that these personality characteristics are not equally common in men and women.”

Why do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? Harvard Business Review



not a leader
August 16, 2014, 6:41 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , , ,

To be a leader – in this view below – you must: see yourself, rule yourself, see others, act altruistically, and organize people. There’s a heavy emphasis on charisma, self and action, and a cursory mention of others.

Curiously no mention at all of knowledge or vision: in this view what you know of yourself is more important than what you know of the world. So much so that knowledge of the world isn’t even mentioned. Is this a case of “the worst  / Are full of passionate intensity”?  Charisma is all you need in the age of sheep.

I think a leader pulls us into new places. The rope attached to a dog’s collar is a lead. The whole purpose is wagging your tail on the way to the new place.

Calvino describes the “agile… poet-philosopher who raises himself above the weight of the world, showing that with all his gravity he has the secret of lightness, and that what many consider to be the vitality of the times – noisy, aggressive, revving and roaring – belongs to the realm of death.” A leader pulls us up to a place of lightness and life.

The fatally incomplete list:

What Makes a Leader? Daniel Goleman



where history counts for nothing and money = intelligence

goldman-sachsThe great economist James K. Galbraith describes two factors that contribute to financial euphoria – the special fiscal  insanity that has led to more than one collapse of markets, the most spectacular being the great collapse of 2008.

The first contributing factor, in paragraph no. 1 below, is a systemic aversion to history; and the second factor, in paragraph no. 2, is the mistaken belief that financial success can be connected to intelligence.

There is a brilliant description of the Peter principle in paragraph 2:  CEOs are mentally predictable, intellectually unchallenging, cavers.  The system that supports them is soft, uncritical and in the end error prone.

Our market fundamentalists are just as inbred and parochial as our religious fundamentalists.

Here is Galbraith:

Contributing to….euphoria are two further factors little noted in our time or in past times. The first is the extreme brevity of the financial memory. In consequence, financial disaster is quickly forgotten. In further consequence, when the same or closely similar circumstances occur again…they are hailed by a new, often youthful, and always supremely self-confident generation as a brilliantly innovative discovery…There can be few fields of human endeavor in which history counts for so little as in the world of finance.  Past experience, to the extent that it is part of memory at all, is dismissed as the primitive refuge of the those who do not have insight to appreciate the incredible wonders of the present. Continue reading