Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Thank You, Twitter Me and A Scare for You

Focus FAA published a couple of rebuttals yesterday to Frank Whiten's 'venomous screed' from last weeks edition which I blogged about. They didn't print my submission but I was happy with their choices nonetheless. (note: I think Frank's last name may actually be spelled Whiten and not Whitten. I'll leave both spellings here so the internet search bots will be sure and find his name no matter how it's spelled in the query. Frank deserves to have people know the kind of guy he is and I'm happy to do my part. This blog will be here for years. Sorry, Frank but you need to own this one and I've yet to receive any sort of apology.)

Leading And Managing

I was reading through the posts of “Your Two Cents” last week, and I couldn’t help but wonder about the entry by Frank Whitten (see “A Supervisor Responds”). I’ve always been told that there are those who lead, and those who manage. I’ve never been completely confident in the difference between the two, but I think we’ve found something in Mr. Whitten’s reply.

For one, a leader certainly does not display a condescending and elitist tone to his/her employees. Boasting that the disproportion in pay between controllers and management exists because management deals with a few skeletons in the closet is callous and below the belt. If Mr. Whitten is completely serious, shame on him. If he’s being sarcastic, then I hope he has a change of attitude. Don’t forget that controllers work with those kinds of people, as well (and I’m not implying that those people are in management — this could apply to anyone in any part of the aviation industry), and we might have to deal with rotten attitudes just as often.

Additionally, I don’t know Kevin Gilmore, and he’s entirely entitled to his opinion. Yet criticizing Kevin’s integrity without having the full picture of his situation (in this case, denigrating Kevin by stating that he has veiled anger/stress problems) illustrates Mr. Whitten’s own lack of integrity. Ultimately, a true leader must maintain a sharp sense of humility, and would apologize for treating Kevin like Mr. Whitten has. Instead of trying to manage your employees, lead them.

Erik Sosa
Western-Pacific Region

Get Back In Your Box

Way to lead, Mr. Whitten. I'm sure there's a lively game of "Who's the Kevin?" going on at your facility right now. Leave it to FAA management to provide a forum for employee comments (look to the left; see where it says "Opinion"?), and when they don't hear what they want to hear, they begin with the personal attacks (whiner, negative) and then question why the employee stays around. FAA management likes to manage by motivational poster and routinely sends employees to feel-good, think-positive training and claim to reward risk-taking and thinking "outside the box," but as soon as you walk out of the classroom and try to act on those principles you've just been taught, it truly is a "boot to the throat" and “get back in your box.” There's a herd mentality in the FAA, as with most large organizations, and true leadership is feared. I did see one motivational poster that did ring true for me, but you’re not likely to find it hanging in any FAA offices. It said: "A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the quality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. In the end, leaders are much like eagles … they don't flock, you find them one at a time." Kind of puts a whole new perspective on "leadership conferences."

John P. Allen

Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center

Actually, I couldn't be happier with what both letter writers said in my defense. Many thanks.

Am I not understanding the attraction to Twitter? I signed up because all the cool kids were/are doing it but I'm not sure why I did; it's definitely not because I'm cool. From what I gather you're expected to text (multiple times) your daily movements so those who 'follow you' will feel engaged in your life or something like that. My blog pretty much does that but I can't imagine people wanting to know what I'm doing every hour of the day. Get your own life.

Facebook works a bit like Twitter in that people post their comings and goings but not with near the frequency; or at least that's been my take on it. But, lately I've had one of my Facebook friends spamming his every move on Facebook and it's becoming a bit much. On average for every one post any of my other friends make this guy posts ten messages. I'm sorry but it's spam to me and I can't figure out how to suppress his comments without deleting him as a Facebook friend all together. He's a very interesting person and I enjoy knowing what's happening in his life but it's sort of like the guy who won't stop talking when all you want is to do your thing, quietly.

I was having a conversation with my trainee, Kristy, during a slow time in the sector a few months ago. I was telling her about the scariest movie I'd ever seen; The Town that Dreaded Sundown. Movies don't come any scarier than this one. I'm not much for horror stories but I'll make an exception for this one which is based on a true story. I saw it not long after it first came out when they showed it on the ship I was on in the Navy. That was back in the late 1970's and I haven't seen it since. I've looked for it in rental shops from time to time but nobody seemed to carry it. I don't know that I'd ever looked for it online.

I came into work a couple days ago and Kristy said "I found that movie you were telling me about". I asked her "what movie?" "You know, that scary movie, the town that dreaded sundown?" She told me she'd found it online and that it ranged in price from around $25 up to $80. She thought it would be a good idea for me to buy it and make copies for everybody to see. I get it; since I was the one who hyped it up I suppose I could spring for it.

I went online to check it out and stumbled across a YouTube video of the movie's trailer. I clicked on it and while I was waiting for it to load I noticed that the person who uploaded the video had a link to their site where you can download the entire show for free. Hmmm, for free? Okay, I'll bite. I went to the site and sure enough they had bunches of cult classic movies you can download at no cost. The owner of the site claims that the movies they're offering have no copyright restrictions whatsoever and I believe they're out of print.

Should the trailer interest you, here's a link to download instructions for the site and here's a link to The Town That Dreaded Sundown.

Enjoy...if you can.


John said...

at the top of your Facebook page, over to the far right, click on settings...from there you can regulate what type of notices you receive.

Kevin said...

Yeah, I've been there but I can't see where you can specify anybody in particular for suppressing what you see from them and that's what I'm after. Oh and btw...It's not you I'm trying to suppress, John. ;)

Steve Saeedi said...

In the newsfeed section to the right of each posting is a "Hide" button. This will suppress the inclusion of the person's updates in your feed. You can always go to the user's page and see their updates from time to time. If you then wish to revert those changes at the bottom of the newsfeed you will see "Edit Options" from which you can add back into your feed or to continue fine tuning more people's feed you wish to restrict.

Kevin said...

Steve...that was too easy. Thanks...and no, you're not the one I was wanting to suppress. This person doesn't come to my blog (at least not that I know of) so I felt comfortable mentioning it here.

Thanks again.