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Benjamin Sisko as the corporate boss May 19, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Management, Seen Elsewhere.
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Last year, IO9 examined the seven types of bad bosses according to Star Trek. I found the article again while reading their “Star Trek” coverage, and I realized that, when I was a boss, I was Benjamin Sisko:

He’s always brooding and staring into his raktajino. When he does smile, it’s usually a bitter smile at some irony he’s spotted. Seldom praises your work, and when he does, there’s often a bit of an edge to it. His main other mode besides glowering is screaming rage. But he does at least know how to laugh at himself… in a gloomy way.

How to handle him: Keep your distance. Learn how to read his little signals — like if he leaves his “special” baseball on his desk, that means he’s planning on coming back after lunch. Or if he nods slightly, that means “Great job, keep it up!” Or maybe: “I’m firing you after lunch.”

It was always the “Great Job” thing when I nodded. I only fired one person when I was a boss, and that was because he didn’t show up for work for a week. I was disturbingly lax, and it bit all my employees in the ass when I quit and my replacement was a real boss, not just a jumped-up employee who was nominally in charge.

Apparently in the world of Star Trek there are no good bosses. I suppose Spock, when he captained the Enterprise, was pretty good, and everything I’ve read of Sulu seems to reflect the same. But when the trope of “person in power has no idea of what’s goign on” is so common in fiction — Star Trek and other kinds — the only response for the hero is “do what’s best and damn the consequences”.

Still, of all the options, Sisko seemed the best one to be.

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