OK, so I admit it. I'm an American Idol junkie. I won't go into all the details as to why. Let me just get into a cornerstone element of the show.... Simon Cowell. The show just wouldn't be the same without Simon. Simon is a Co-creator of the show, Vice-President at BMG records and a very discerning judge of marketable talent. I see now what real skill he has for the music industry. Before, I used to think that he was just plain mean. He is mean, but he's also brutally honest at the same time.
OK, so in a management sense the guy is definitely lacking in emotional intelligence. But let's face it: the guy speaks the truth. It's a truth that's hard to take, but it's also a truth we all need to hear every so often. whether our goal is to become the nation's next pop star or simply finish up that project on time.
When I look at the stacks of books touting soft skills and nice guy leadership that pass through our cubicles every week, I can't help but wonder if a lot of people in business culture confuse being supportive with lying. That's right... lying. That's what judge Paula Abdul does, after all: She tries to make everyone feel good, but never gives the contestants anything to improve on. Then, when they're voted off by 20 million people the next week, they never know what hit them.
In a corporate environment, I'd rather suffer 12 insults and get one real compliment from someone I trust than have to listen to Paula's meaningless drivel and Randy's fake buddy-buddy stuff. Really now, dawg, wouldn't you?