|Home||Switchboard||Unix Administration||Red Hat||TCP/IP Networks||Neoliberalism||Toxic Managers|
|May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)|
22 Apr 2005 | Max McKeownp
Carl Ford's appearance at the senate Foreign Relations Committee proceedings were not without personal risk as he described John Bolton, President Bush's nominee for United Nations ambassador, as 'a quintessential kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy' whose attempt to intimidate a mid-level analyst raises 'real questions about his suitability for high office.'
So why did Carl 'defender of the little people' Ford, come forward to tell the truth about John 'serial abuser' Bolton?
It can't be big P politics because Ford is Republican and conservative so it seems most likely that Ford believes at least two things: that abusing power and authority is wrong and that it is an ineffective style that will damage the objectives of the USA.
Clearly, Ford has an impressive gift for a powerful and damning phrase, but is he correct?
Why was the analyst so intimidated that he couldn't speak the truth to Bolton's face?
- Let's look first at the evidence describing Bolton's style. In 2002 he berated an analyst and sought to have him fired simply because he disagreed with Bolton's assessment that Cuba has a biological weapons program with the consequence that analysts did not feel that they could speak the truth if the truth ran contrary to the opinions of their superiors.
- It is also alleged that he tried to get a CIA Latin America analyst fired. According to USA Today, 'Rumors of Bolton's temper have swirled around Washington for years', and according to Ford, 'he's got a bigger kick and it gets bigger and stronger the further down the bureaucracy he's kicking.'
Bolton on Monday acknowledged trying to get the analyst reassigned but said it was because he had 'gone behind my back', which leaves the obvious question: why was the analyst so intimidated that he couldn't speak the truth to Bolton's face?
Leaders need the truth but Bolton's approach will reduce communication to him to flattery and capitulation. It's something that Machiavelli recognised 500 years ago when he counselled the princes of the Medici family to conduct themselves in such a way that those around them,
- 'realize that the more freely they speak, the more they will please you',
- 'for there is no other way to guard against flattery than by making men understand that by telling you the truth that they will not injure you.'
Machiavelli distrusted flattery because it prevented useful information and discordant voices from being considered by those in power. He reasoned that it was better to have the information and choose to ignore it or act counter to it than to act in ignorance.
And so it is today or tomorrow. Or thirty years ago when the 'infectious optimism' of John F. Kennedy's team allied to the 'arrogance' of the CIA team working for him led to the ludicrous night time amphibious invasion of Cuba, the capture of 1,977 Cuban rebels, and the mortifying embarrassment of the US president. The plan was always doomed to failure but no-one would tell the president the truth to his face. Why not?
The Bay of Pigs fiasco was one of the presidential decisions that received analysis from Irving Janis, social psychologist at Yale, who in 1971 described his, very popular, theory of 'groupthink' as one where faulty decisions are made because of 'a desire for conformity and concurrence within the leadership group at the expense of critical and objective thinking.'
The only trouble with it as a theory was that it could only explain the past retrospectively after it was, like Charles and Camilla's apology, too late.
It would be far better to be able to know in advance which groups, teams or regimes are likely to avoid the truth and make stupendously stupid decisions. This is why a team at the University of California at Berkeley has developed something with the unappealing acronym of GDQS, or Group Dynamics Q Sort, that tests groupthink using a set of 100 questions that assess the groups decision-making dynamics (e.g. 'The group leader is insulated from criticism' versus 'The group is exposed to a wide range of views and arguments').
The team is now assessing governments to see to what extent they are 'well-informed and open to alternatives'. These include the Bush administration and its ability to shield itself from any information that contradicted its desired course of action.
If being open to alternatives really does improve decision making, as Janis and the Berkley group argue, then what are we to make of the view of a contributor to the Al Franken, Air America radio show, who said, in response to the Bolton situation,
'Wake up call: The vast majority of managers at every level in American business and government are mindless thugs, abusive kiss up kick down morons who have not the ability to lead. Welcome to the culture that is the United States of America!'
Is Bolton just a bad man with a bad haircut, poor impulse control and unruly facial hair? Or is he also symptomatic of a management quality issue?
The response of shareholders and boards of directors when confronted with the bad behavior of senior, or junior managers, is often very similar to Senator Richard Lugar, the committee chairman, who distanced himself from Bolton's approach saying, 'obviously, Secretary Bolton's demeanour is not my style', but still felt that he would vote for Bolton because, 'the paramount issue is reform of the U.N. and the confidence President Bush and Secretary of State (Condoleezza) Rice have in this nominee'.
Or, in other words, 'if the Pres wants a bully who am I to argue?' or 'if he gets results then it might be morally distasteful but business is business.'
But being too scary or too powerful stops the truth getting to the very people who need it most. (Think Star Wars - No one ever told Darth Vader that he needed an inhaler and no-one seems to tell Lucas about how his CGI obsession is ruining his legacy).
And so we find a situation where the weak – employees - become targets for abuse and stop sharing valuable truth with their managers, while the powerful - boards and senators - act weak because they are willing to ignore means in return for ends.
But if history demonstrates one thing it is that this kowtowing to bullies is both morally and pragmatically wrong, something the pitiful decisions made by the 'kiss up, kick down' guys will keep proving again, and again, and again.
This article comes from www.management-issues.com
FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit exclusivly for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
ABUSE: IPs or network segments from which we detect a stream of probes might be blocked for no less then 90 days. Multiple types of probes increase this period.
Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers : Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy
War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotes : Somerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose Bierce : Bernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes
Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law
Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds : Larry Wall : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOS : Programming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC development : Scripting Languages : Perl history : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history
The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-Month : How to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Hater’s Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite
Most popular humor pages:
Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor
The Last but not Least
Copyright © 1996-2016 by Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov. www.softpanorama.org was created as a service to the UN Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP) in the author free time. This document is an industrial compilation designed and created exclusively for educational use and is distributed under the Softpanorama Content License.
Original materials copyright belong to respective owners. Quotes are made for educational purposes only in compliance with the fair use doctrine.
FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to advance understanding of computer science, IT technology, economic, scientific, and social issues. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided by section 107 of the US Copyright Law according to which such material can be distributed without profit exclusively for research and educational purposes.
This is a Spartan WHYFF (We Help You For Free) site written by people for whom English is not a native language. Grammar and spelling errors should be expected. The site contain some broken links as it develops like a living tree...
|You can use PayPal to make a contribution, supporting development of this site and speed up access. In case softpanorama.org is down you can use the at softpanorama.info|
The statements, views and opinions presented on this web page are those of the author (or referenced source) and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of the author present and former employers, SDNP or any other organization the author may be associated with. We do not warrant the correctness of the information provided or its fitness for any purpose.
Last modified: September, 12, 2017