Managers of renown

Since we so rarely have the chance to thank those who have influenced us, I have previously listed teachers and non-fiction writers who have influenced me, and listed the public lectures I have attended.  I thought it appropriate also to list the people I have worked with whom I have admired and learnt from as managers, which I do here:
Victor Barendse, Andreas von Blottnitz, Will Bobb, Gene La Borne, Judy Bradford, Jan Buettner, John Cornish, Don Day, Wanchai Ekraksasilpchai, John Griffiths, Neill Haine, Tony Hawkins, Michael Heath RIP, Jin-Young Hwang, Walter Kamba RIP, Mathieu Lasalle, Marian McEwin, Michael Orr, Maureen Piche, Jerry Rossi, Leanne Thomas, Dennis Trewin, Henry Vandemark, Don Warkentin, Richard Wetenhall.

Effective leadership is context-specific:  what works in one domain on one occasion may not work elsewhere or with the same people at other times.   However, in looking across the people whose management skills I have learnt from, I realize there are some common features which most share to a greater or lesser extent.   One is a sharp intelligence, which may be manifest in many diverse ways (verbally, mathematically, organizationally, etc).  A second feature is a marked ability to read the emotions of others and to sense the social dynamics of a group or a meeting.    Good managers know their audiences well.  A third feature is an ability to read their own emotions (a skill which is surprisingly uncommon) together with an ability to control the public expression of these emotions when it so behooves them;   most of the people I have listed would make good poker players.  A fourth feature is an integrity of purpose – enthusiasm, honesty, transparency, directness, fairness, a willingness to argue for positions, and a willingness to consider evidence before reaching conclusions.  Finally, all of these people are effective at getting things done – not a skill to be sneezed at, despite the generally low status that doing things has among the chatterati.

Pommes frites with everything

A Guardian editorial from 1989, published followed news that the French Government Official Dictionary of Neologisms had decided whether to adopt or discard over 2400 foreign words from the French language:

This concern with linguistic purity is clearly inspired by France’s envy of Anglo-Saxon practice, which, as is well known, sets its face like flint against all overseas importations.  Regular visitors to London report with awe on the capacity of the English of all social classes for keeping the language clean.  From the blase habitues of the London clubs – raconteurs, bon viveurs, hommes d’affaires – with their penchant for bonhomie and camaraderie, through the soi-disant bien pensants of the passe liberal press to the demi-monde of the jeunesse doree, where ingenues in risque decolletages dine a deux, tete a tete and a la carte with their louche nouveau riche fiances in brassieries and estaminets, pure English is de rigueur, and the mildest infusion of French considered de trop, deja vu, cliche, devoid of all cachet, a linguistic melange or bouillabaisse, a cultural cul-de-sac.
The English want no part of this outre galere, no role in this farouche charade, no rapprochement with this compote.   They get no frisson from detente with diablerie.  And long may it remain so.  “A bas les neologismes!” as you often hear people cry late at night on the Earl’s Court Road.”

Source:  The Guardian Weekly, 1989-01-08 (London, UK).
And here is a story about the French Member of the English Language Committee of the International Mathematics Olympiad.
And here it’s Flugtag for Denglisch.