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News: Marge's ... "Jerk" Management Metric

  1. Marge's ... "Jerk" Management Metric (12 messages)

    Bob Sutton, in "Marge's [Hosehead] Management Metric," whose title was slightly modified for TSS, offers a metric from Marge - a real person - for measuring how much of a jerk someone is: 0 for passive, 1 for normal, 2 for assertive but apologetic at need, and 3 for a hosehead who doesn't realise it. This management metric has been used at two majour industry companies with success - and Marge uses the scale to help guide managers to the best level of interaction (to wit: sometimes being a 1 is appropriate, and other times, being a 3 is correct.)
    Bill told and showed us how, in the middle of a meeting, Marge would sometimes point at someone, and hold up three fingers to communicate that (at least for the moment) he or she was being too nasty and needed to calm down, and how –- because Marge was so well-respected and they all understood the system -- such signals had an instant and powerful effects. Well, since we had this discussion with Bill in Thursday, I've exchanged pretty detailed e-mails with Marge and Bill, and she has given me permission to share her system with others. And as you will see, Marge has a very sophisticated system, and there are times when she believes that being more rather less of [a hosehead] is necessary. Unfortunately, I think she is right.
    The word rendered as "jerk" or "hosehead" here is not one of George Carlin's "seven dirty words," but it's still not appropriate for TSS - and note that Mr. Sutton's post suggests that "jerk" was intentionally not used because it lacked the force of the actual word. Sorry, folks; the Bileblog has no limitations on colourful language, but TSS does and will continue to. It's an interesting metric. It's meant to gauge interaction between people, and given that programs are often a way of communication with other people (see Literate Programming), interaction factors in to the profession. This is usually passive communication, but mailing lists might be able to use a gauge like this.

    Threaded Messages (12)

  2. Other options[ Go to top ]

    For those wishing to have a more generally applicable model of why people behave like "jerks", "hoseheads" or "assholes" I would suggest looking into the topics of psychopathy and narcissism. Reading suggestions: In Sheep's Clothing Mask of Sanity Myth of Sanity Trapped in the Mirror These books contain information that can be applied both in communication of all kinds and assessing behaviour in general. I have founds these to be very useful, both in micro and macro perspectives.
  3. Re: Other options[ Go to top ]

    For those wishing to have a more generally applicable model of why people behave like "jerks", "hoseheads" or "assholes" I would suggest looking into the topics of psychopathy and narcissism.
    Though hopefully only a small portion of the people you meet who behave like assholes do so because they are psychopates. More common reasons might be stress, projection, and a whole range of social factors. Thinking in terms of psychopaty when interacting with people can be quite dangerous, since the only effective way to deal with such a situation (and person) is to get out of it (avoiding the person), when in fact there might be lots of things one can do on a social level to solve the problem. Newspapers sometimes publish speculative articles teching how to spot if your manager is a psychopat, and then gives the advice to quite the job if he/she is one. Usually this is a wad of horseshit, and much less drastic measures can be taken to solve the problems.
  4. Re: Other options[ Go to top ]



    Though hopefully only a small portion of the people you meet who behave like assholes do so because they are psychopates.

    More common reasons might be stress, projection, and a whole range of social factors.
    Indeed, and so they won't be exhibiting all symptoms. But knowing the symptoms, and how to deal with people who exhibit them (even if it's only a subset) is a good thing to know. About 1 in 20 of the overall population is a psychopath, and the number is much higher the higher up in management you get, so it's definitely good to know about.
    Thinking in terms of psychopaty when interacting with people can be quite dangerous, since the only effective way to deal with such a situation (and person) is to get out of it (avoiding the person), when in fact there might be lots of things one can do on a social level to solve the problem. Newspapers sometimes publish speculative articles teching how to spot if your manager is a psychopat, and then gives the advice to quite the job if he/she is one. Usually this is a wad of horseshit, and much less drastic measures can be taken to solve the problems.
    It also depend on the type of psychopath. For example, the kind described in the book In Sheep's Clothing ("covert aggressive personalities") can be dealt with quite effectively if you know what makes them "tick". In general my best tips for dealing with psychos is a) knowledge about the problem and b) communication with the others in a team/group/family/neighbourhood/city/country. Those two together are quite effective.
  5. Re: Other options[ Go to top ]

    Though hopefully only a small portion of the people you meet who behave like assholes do so because they are psychopates.
    Hey, not all of us a**holes are pyschopaths. Or did I get that backwards? Peace, Cameron Purdy Tangosol Coherence: The Java Data Grid
  6. Re: Other options[ Go to top ]

    Hey, not all of us a**holes are pyschopaths.
    Absolutely, which is why I mentioned narcissism as well. Even if "only" 1/20 is a psychopath, it seems to me that narcissism (in the West at least) is something of an epidemic.
  7. Re: Other options[ Go to top ]

    Hey, not all of us a**holes are pyschopaths.

    Absolutely, which is why I mentioned narcissism as well. Even if "only" 1/20 is a psychopath, it seems to me that narcissism (in the West at least) is something of an epidemic.
    I think you missed the joke there, Ricky Boy. Is lack of a sense of humour symptomatic of being a psychopath? In my experience, it usually is symptomatic of being an a**hole. I am now holding up two fingers. Any British readers will know what that means, and it doesn't mean "normal".
  8. Re: Other options[ Go to top ]

    I think you missed the joke there, Ricky Boy. Is lack of a sense of humour symptomatic of being a psychopath?
    Read the suggestion books and you would know the answer to that.
    In my experience, it usually is symptomatic of being an a**hole.

    I am now holding up two fingers. Any British readers will know what that means, and it doesn't mean "normal".
    Right. As I said, narcissism is also an important topic to investigate. If you are looking in the mirror with your two fingers, for example, that would be an example of talking to yourself, using sign language no less, and that is definitely not "normal". Fortunately narcissism is a curable disease while psychopathy is not.
  9. Re: Other options[ Go to top ]

    Hey, be nice. I'll call your two fingers and raise just one. Guess which one. >:)
  10. measuring how much of a jerk someone is
    is relative to the environment. Skinner v. Freud smack down. Sounds like it's OK to be a 3 to get above the noise level in some cultures. Anyone work for a <1 company? Ever listen to the the Java Posse (javaposse.com)? Those guys talk tech and never fight. They are smart and have opinions but never shut each other down. I would love to work in a company where people could have opinions without shutting the next guy down. Come on, JBoss - group hug?
  11. I would love to work in a company where people could have opinions without shutting the next guy down. Come on, JBoss - group hug?
    You should be technically competent to work for a company like that, but given your track record, I would suggest you have a group hug with hani.
  12. Ray, I'm holding up three fingers to you now. Holy crap! The system works!!!
  13. This would be a useful feature to add to LiveMeeting.