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Issue Date: September 2004 (es)

It is all about leadership, not management

1 September 2004

Dilbert is a great way to start the day. For the past however many years my online day has started with a trip to, supplemented with a few Dilbert books. The sad thing is that no matter how funny the strip is, every now and then it hits home.
More often than I would wish, something that happens to Dilbert or something his boss does simply hits home as something I have experienced or been told of. There used to be a belief among IT journalists that whenever Dilbert jokes appeared on cubicle and office walls it was a sure sign that there were problems at that company and there would soon either be layoffs or a mass exodus of staff - or both. Most of the time we were right.
The easy thing to do is blame managers for being incompetent or their staff for also being incompetent, or both as one rarely has a bad manager without bad staff encouraging their mismanagement or bad staff not created by bad managers. But will that solve the problems created?
On the one hand, staff have to realise that management is not there to be nice, but to see that a job gets done at the lowest cost and with the highest quality. You get paid to do a job, so do it. On the other, management must realise that following a set of rules in the company's management handbook (do any companies have these?) is not the optimal way to get the results needed. Bad management can destroy morale and whether we like it or not, that does lower productivity and output.
So what can be done? On the one hand, many business leaders/owners are happy to do things the old way in what they see as an employer's market. On the other, if one wants to grow your business you need to think beyond the norm - unless you have really good contacts at the secret handshake club. We touch briefly on the leadership issue this month - let me know if you think it is something we should focus more editorial on in future.
Spam, spam, spam
Our feature this issue is all about spam. It never ceases to amaze me that people believe that finding an e-mail address and adding it to a spam list is acceptable. What is more perplexing is that some people respond! Although, in preparing for this feature I did come across a few people who made honest mistakes and saw e-mail as a cheap way to get their businesses off the ground. People like this are more open to removing one from their lists when requested and are generally trying to survive in a tough economy.
I also learned how easily we lose our manners over e-mail. It is so easy to insult someone from your inbox and many of us do it without thinking, even though we would never talk like that face to face with someone. So many things to learn (or is that re-learn) as we grow up!
Andrew Seldon

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