Friday, July 08, 2005

General advice about managers...

Is your boss a psychopath? (by Alan Deutschman)
You may not be alone.

Comments:
"Factor 1, the "selfish, callous, and remorseless use of others" category. It includes eight traits: glibness and superficial charm; grandiose sense of self-worth; pathological lying; conning and manipulativeness; lack of remorse or guilt; shallow affect (i.e., a coldness covered up by dramatic emotional displays that are actually playacting); callousness and lack of empathy; and the failure to accept responsibility for one's own actions. Sound like anyone you know?"

Sure does. Sounds like my Division manager.
 
Sounds like a chief-of-staff I know. He thinks he manager, but he's really a political favor and everyone knows it.
 
You are definately a "how empty is my glass" collection of whiners.

I wonder whether any lurkers here have had great bosses- hard working managers who understand that their staff are key assets. I have had plenty of empathetic and engaging bosses who were great to work for. I have only had the occasional one who, while not by any stretch a psychopath, lacked some interpersonal skills.

It must be tough being you.
 
My boss is great. But I work at Livermore and can't speak for LANL.
 
You people are having too much darn fun, especially poster 12:44. Now get back to work.
 
I would get back to work if there were something to do. My manager hasn't given me any work in months.
 
You at LLNL: when does Ray Juzaitis head down to the docks and start opening containers and start providing some security to the homeland?

You Livermoronites might want to buy Ray J a crowbar !!!
 
My division manager who came from NASA hasn't accomplished mush either. Accountability to him is like kryptonite is to Superman. And his deputy division manager feels like he can run HR with some far fetched "Blue Dot" theory. I remember Rich Marquez having quite a chuckle on that one.
 
Truth to tell, in 15 years at LANL I've had only one immediate supervisor who was a "psychopath" or "sociopath" as described in the article. And when I doscovered this, I managed to escape his group and land in a much better one. For the higher-ups, I recall only one Division Leader who definetely fit the description. In my private/corporate world experience I've worked for a higher percentage of bosses who fit the psychopath description. They were so good at fooling their bosses that they never got the boot. At LANL the problem is that too many bosses just are not good leaders and managers as compared to my outside world experience. And they often don't get the boot, either. "Birds of a feather....."
 
To poster 12:44

I am happy to hear about your good fortune with LANL managers. Others have not been so fortunate. We have a program manager who is psycho. He has a temper and has displayed violent behavior. Nothing has been done about him, so we all continue to give him wide berth.
 
Most people agree that Pete Nanos was an abusive director. His departure was certainly a welcome turn at LANL. However, it did not automatically eliminate some of the like-minded individuals who were put in positions of authority and continue to act in this tyrannical manner.

This is the situation with the Chief of Staff in our division. This person behaves very much like Nanos though on a smaller scale. Of course, she can do so only with the acquiescence of the division leader, so he can be considered complicit. She has become increasingly bold in her meanness, as nothing has been done to curb her arrogant behavior. Her actions seem to be largely designed to satisfy an insatiable personal thirst for power and control, certainly not with the well being of the division in mind.

As a mid-career staff member, my knowledge of many of these actions is second hand, but I have seen and heard enough to know there is a real problem and it is getting worse. Though many of her actions may appear administrative in nature, they are affecting the scientific output as well as the spirit in the division. As is often the case with people of this ilk, her sycophantish behavior toward her superiors is in stark contrast to her vituperative behavior toward her inferiors. My group leader tells me that even group leaders fall in the latter category.

However, the greatest injustices are done to those least able to push back, namely the support staff and contractors. She treats secretaries with condescension. Those most favored (generally the most obsequious) have been rewarded at the expense of those less favored. All are afraid to make any decision without first getting her approval and don’t dare point out any error on her part; i.e., they can’t do their jobs effectively.

Another serious repercussion is our loss of computer support. For a number of years, some groups have used contractors for this purpose. These people, mainly Lab retirees, are very capable and dependable, as well as willing to work whenever needed. Her justification for their elimination is ostensibly the Contingent Worker Plan, though the fluctuating work load would seem to make this task well-suited for contingent workers. Unlike many other contingent workers, these people are retired and have no desire to become regular UC employees again. The real purpose of the present course of action seems to be to get more employees reporting to the CoS, who is close-minded and has no computer competence. These dedicated workers have suffered indignities that no regular employee would tolerate. In the interim, Lab programs and science will be the inadvertent casualties as computer systems fail and there is no one available to fix them.

All of these support people live in constant fear for their livelihoods. This CoS makes arbitrary and unreasonable demands, often based either on animosity toward the unfortunate worker or poor understanding of the job to be performed. The people who know the job requirements best have been disempowered. Her threats are not idle, and retaliation for anything less than blind obedience is sure. A number of highly competent people have departed to other organizations where they hope to be appreciated and humanely treated.

Can anything be done about situations like this? Though it took a long time and great damage was done in the meantime, the consensus of LANL employees, though largely anonymous, did eventually prevail over Nanos. Hopefully the stated Lab policy of fair treatment in a nonthreatening environment is more than idle words.
 
A few years ago I worked with a LANL Ph.D. scientist in his 50's assigned to a DC agency. He worked in mortal fear of offending superiors in NM. He told me that if one did not do what they wanted, even if it was technically flawed or borderline illegal, that the executives would make certain to end one's career. I pressed him on this, having difficulty believing it could be true. He assured me, that for even crossing one of these demigods, one would face termination, and many had indeed suffered that very fate. Sociopaths at least, I would say. I think it is way past time that such executives, who apparently still reside at LANL, are offered positions outside the Lab, as in, just outside the gate.
 
I don't think that I have dealt with LANL managers who are psychopaths. BUT, the majority of them were extremely (and unethically) self-serving. Unforetunately, I had the misfortune to have had similar managers at another (non-DOE) government lab prior to coming to LANL. It seems that the end (the advancement of the manager's career) justifies the means (lying, primarily).
 
To the 7/8/05 10:40 poster,

Yes, T Division s____ because Alan and Paul have turned management over to Audrey. Actually it's not management but more a series of hatchet jobs. Of course they have done what she does, ingratiated themselves with their managers, in this case Paul with Alan and Alan with Terry Wallace. Either Terry does not know about the hatchet wielding COS or also sanctions her behavior.

Maybe a new blog is necessary. Call it
T Division: The Real Story!

Anybody in T Division brave enough to stand up and take charge?

PS: If you look through the archives, this problem was described back in January or February, and there have been other postings that have alluded to an out-of-control COS. So there are other T Division folks who are unhappy, but they are probably voting with their feet!
 
I know the Chief of Staff described in the 7/08/2005 10:40:39 PM post, and she scores high on all of Hare’s Factor 1 personality characteristics: “glibness and superficial charm; grandiose sense of self-worth; pathological lying; cunning and manipulativeness; lack of remorse or guilt; shallow affect (i.e., a coldness covered up by dramatic emotional displays that are actually playacting); callousness and lack of empathy; and the failure to accept responsibility for one's own actions.” She has no empathy whatsoever with others, but can tear up in the presence of her superiors when her judgment seems to be challenged -- all the while plotting her next step.
 
It does appear that there are several chiefs of staff at LANL who qualify as psychopaths. I believe they were hired for that quality because the division leader does not want to do the hatchet work him/herself. Numerous of these COSs started in HR Staff Relations where they learned their job well. Then when they want more money they move to a division. Remember the the HR people in Staff Relations are assigned a division so they get to know it well.
My belief is that these COSs are hired in a good cop, bad cop situation so their boss can look like a decent person. And the boss is smart enough to get someone s/he has seen in action before so they know what kind of person they are getting.
Many of LANL's problems could be solved if the psychopaths of sociopaths were eliminated from LANL or at least given jobs where they had no work with other people.
 
The Chief of Staff position in Divisions is a job that requires roll up of all the myrid of requirements that come with one of the most regulated organizations in the world. It is true that most of the lanl staff hate this -- which is perfectly understandable because they are ridiculous. However, the COS should be making sure that these requirements are met so that work can go forward. In the past T division did not do a great job in achieving compliance. In the last year T division is doing much better.

What is it that the T divsion COS is doing that is so bad? The posts all say she is a pathological liar and
has no guilt...what does this really mean? Those that hate the COS should state what the problem is specifically.
 
To the 7/10/05 3:09pm poster:

1. How would you know that T Division has had compliance problems and is now doing better? Those of us within the division have never been told that we have been "out of compliance." And if we have doing better this year, it might be in spite of the COS, not because of the COS.

2. Although "trust me" is not what you want to hear, describing this person's actions would only leave me and others open to retaliation. Believe me, retaliation in T Division exists, and sometimes it is directed at those less able to defend themselves, such as the secretaries, not because the secretaries have gotten crosswise with her, but because the group leader has, and her only way to get back at him is through the secretary.
 
To 8:38, an explanation of the situation that the LANL Ph.D. scientist assigned to a DC agency was in: LANL and the other weapons labs aggressively place high-level loyal staff strategically in Washington offices to lobby for the labs' budgets and programs. They always have someone on staff at Domenici's office, Heather Wilson's office, numerous NNSA offices, OSTP, Office of Secretary of Defense, etc. etc. These people are put in these offices specifically to help sway policy and legislation in favor of the labs, and getting one of these assignments is strictly political and subject to the labs' upper managers desire to put a particular person on a change of station or IPA. While in principle change of stations are intended for young and mid-career people, they rarely are allowed to participate in these programs because upper management -- at all the labs -- sees this as too risky, since an older, more experiences person can lobby for the labs' cause better. Thus, the person on assignment is under a lot or pressure to deliver. For example, the person(s) assigned to the NNSA-ASC office is key in keeping the funds flowing to the labs for that program. The LANL person assigned to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources was there primarily to lobby for funding the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator. And the list goes on. You get the idea. This is how it works in Washington and the labs are no different.
 
Bad managers abound for various reasons. Many are bad simply because they have no management skills. Most scientists are not people-persons, and lack social skills to begin with. And like 3:58 said, some really are psycho. One of our team leaders in CCS-3 has a diagnosed manic disorder, but no one in authority above him will relieve him of duty. He's verbally abusive too. We've lost several smart key staff over the last few years because of this guy, but his group leader and the division leaders refuse to do anything about it. Why they won't, who knows?
 
As it happens, I have been involved in one of the recent IPA negotiations, and I disagree with 7:34, with data to back it up that I will share here if the affected people permit it. On that particular occasion, a working-stiff, mid-career scientist was chosen for the IPA (one with quite a bit of influence in a political sense) over a moderately senior manager. Both of their names had been floated to the agency wanting the IPA, along with a couple of others who turned out to be unavailable. The agency decided they wanted the scientist. The lab went along with it.

As so often, "YMMV" -- Your Mileage May Vary. I don't deny that there are IPA/change-of-station positions where the lab tries to insinuate someone to bring home the pork or accomplish some other mission. (How could I deny it? I only know about a fraction of the lab's IPAs.) But I can definitely deny, with data, that that's the only goal of IPAs or that the system is stacked in favor of "will-manage-for-food" types. Sometimes we actually give the customer what they want, rather than working to our own ulterior motives.

Incidentally, it is illuminating to compare the lab's attitude toward IPAs to the attitudes that our competitors have toward them. Anybody want to take that on?
 
I ran across Phil Goldstone and his date at a DC restaurant recently. He's assigned to Rep. Heather Wilson. He said that one of his duties is to lobby for more funds for the UC labs by directing policy that fovors UC rather than the other DOE labs.
 
I would like to suggest a couple more psycho/sociopaths at LANL. Remember Joe Salgado who was the one who really fired Walp and Doran.
I would also like to suggest Frank Dickson, head of Lab Legal, who runs the most agressive anti-employee policy I know of anywhere with the funding and permission of DOE.
I would also like to suggest Rich Marquez who is only an improvement over Salgado in that he isn't grumy, but actually rather charming. He only yells at people in private.
I know enough about these three to believe they would qualify as sociopaths or psychopaths as the story likes to call them.
 
Is that Phil "Blue Ribbon Panel" Goldstone?
 
It is the responsibility of higher managers to make sure their reports behave in an ethical manner. Otherwise, they are derelict in their duties. We have a Lab Director now who seems to care -- maybe it will filter down.
 
It was first brought up on the blog some months ago, but it’s now high time that the problem with the T Division Chief of Staff be redressed. This person used the stand-down as an opportunity to seize power and has been out of control ever since. For God’s sake, this ain’t the Lab Director and solution should be easy.
 
I have also witnessed the injustice the T-Division Chief of Staff has perpetrated on the computer support in the Division. She has driven out dedicated, hard-working, competent people who served T-Division well in order to establish herself as someone to be feared and has the arrogance to think she is an expert on computer needs and issues. Won't someone in Management take a look at what this Chief of Staff is doing to T-Division?
 
To 1:05 PM Poster ---

It's Phil Goldstone who was married to Heidi Hahn. He's a short guy with a tall Napolean Complex. According to his ex-wife Heidi, he's short in all departments: personality, height, education, etc.

The X Division folks were in revolt over him and Steve Younger actually sent him to NTS to get him out of his thinning hair.
 
Check out the COS (Dep. Grp. Leaders) in ESA, these will really curl you hair. Secretary to Rich Mah, we know how she got where she is. Another no one knows how she got where she is but oh my lord what a mistake.
 
Many complaints have been made about the Chiefs of Staff in various divisions. It appears that some hinder the science rather than facilitate it, which presumably is their job. It might be of interest to look at the salaries of these glorified office administrators in the technical divisions:

B-DO $100K
C-DO $98K
D-DO $90K
DX-DO $114K
EES-DO $103K
ESA-DO $101K
NMT-DO $112K
MSM-DO $105K
N-DO $128K
P-DO $119K
T-DO $112K
X-DO $136K

CCS and MST Divisions apparently do not currently have Chiefs of Staff -- wonder if they are any worse off for this omission? To be fair, some of these Chiefs of Staff may have technical training and responsibilities and deserve their high salaries. That is certainly not the case in our Division, where the COS has disempowered the group leaders and made the lives of group administrators hell. Yet these people make more than the average productive scientist. What are our values?
 
Why doesn't the appropriate LANL manager check out what it happening in T Division with the CoS? This bully is running people out of the Division and continues to exercise complete and willful control over people too afraid to stand up for themselves for fear of being retaliated against. Don't turn a blind eye to this Nanos graduate!
 
wow -- so many complaints about T division! Has a single one of you complained to Bishop? To Wallace? Guess what -- posting to the Blog is not the same as taking action. I wonder why so many posters seem to think that an anonymous posting to the blog will result in someone being fired.

There really are many mechanisms for filing a complaint, and although everyone seems to have a story about why this might not work, it really does make a difference most of the time.
 
Having worked with the T-Div COS in a previous position, I am not surprised that her nasty disposition and attitude of "get to the top any way you can" has continued. This woman is a disgrace to all and a fraud. She barely has a high school education and her previous position of supervising a very small group ended in utmost failure. Can we say "blackmail". If she doesn't get what she wants, suddenly she is a victimized employee, sexual harrassment, racial or sex discrimination....oh many things to chose from. I pity T division and I encourage you to speak out where it counts, I wish I had, because maybe, just maybe she would not have made it any further.
 
Just want to thank you blog posters for the real info on Lisa Guiterrez, former Diversity Leader.

She had applied for a $200,000+ job at our company in the Beltway. Her resume looked great, and her references checked out. For us, your posts prevented us from making one of the biggest mistakes in our company's history.

Because of the fact that we are in the media spotlight, Lisa would have been the wrong choice. Too bad she is still at LANL.
 
Anonymous at 7/12/2005 09:12:23 PM gave the salaries of the COS of various divisions. A few were left off the list:

LANSCE-DO $169,261.
DDNS $154,515.
ADTS $153,208.
CSO $143,590.
X-DO $135,527.
N-DO $128,170.
P-DO $119,270.
ADWEM $117,732.
 
The comment at 7/12/2005 09:55:48 PM suggested that those who are dissatisfied file a complaint. Get real. That is not going to work. And, furthermore, the problem does not lie with the COS. It is the manager who appointed this COS and has failed to provide suprvision and to check up on results that is at fault.
 
The Chief of Staff in T Division makes $112K? That’s more than the average scientific PhD staff member. She has no scientific training, but that doesn’t stop her from arbitrarily making decisions that directly and indirectly affect (often hurt) science.
 
Anonymous at 7/13/2005 02:39:25 PM points out a very clear problem with this blog. Due to our complaints, this guy's employer did not hire Lisa Guterriez and we remain stuck with her and her high salary. And, don't hold your breath for the T-Division COS going anywhere soon, except perhaps upward at LANL.
 
Honesty does not come without a price.
 
The T-Division Chief of Staff, Audrey Archuleta, is a mean-spirited person with a veneer of sweetness. The tough medicine, which the division leader and his deputy apparently thing she is providing, is really poison. Audrey‘s ambition goes beyond all bounds of decency. It would be difficult for anyone to believe such behavior without witnessing it. Even for LANL, which is not known for good managers, she is a disgrace. Like Nanos, it would be a good deal to be rid of her even if she continued to receive her specious salary.
 
This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
Hey, there must be someone who thinks the T Division Chief of Staff is doing a good job. Let’s hear from them.
 
To: 7/12/2005 09:40:24 PM "Don't turn a blind eye to this Nanos graduate!"
I found that an interesting remark so did a bit of digging to find out what this meant. So the T COS graduated from the Nanos DDP and worked for
J "no morals/integrity" Kaye (Nanos' COS). What a piece of work Kaye is. I have heard that she is still prowling the 4th floor and is very closely aligned to several folks up there.
 
Apparently there are a lot of people who have many issues with the T division Chief of Staff. Personally I just know of what she has done with computer system administration in the division. It is a looming disaster with the groups prohibited from making relevant personnel decisions. Of course, this couldn’t have happened if the division leader and deputy hadn’t allowed her to take over the process, so they share the blame. One example of her asinine decision making was assignment of basically janitorial duties to one of the overworked computer administrators. Shortly afterwards, he left the division.
 
To: Terry Wallace
Serious allegations have been made regarding the T Division Chief of Staff. Could you investigate?
 
Tell me why you all do not think the many posts in this thread about the T-Div COS are not made by one person with a personal issue? Your standards for providence are zero, yet you are willing to facilitate the destruction of a person's career in public. What will you do when the baleful eye of envy or malice turn to you?
 
The criticisms of the T-Division COS are not the postings of a single individusl.

BUT, in fact they are evidence that communication between the T Division Director and his TSMs has totally broken down!
 
One of the most important people in a division that does classified computing, as T Division does, is the ISSO. T Division has sailed through all the DOE audits because we have had a very meticulous ISSO who dotted every i and crossed every t. That person is leaving T Division, in part because of the micromanaging, nontechnical CSO, and this nontechnical CSO has decided not to replace the ISSO but let nontechnical group admins assume most of the responsibilities.

I am not posting this because I have a personal issue with the COS. I am posting this as an example of a very poor decision made by someone who has no business making this decision. And I wish that everyone in the division who does classified computing would discuss this with the division management. However, as the previous poster wrote, "communication between the T Division Director and his TSMs has totally broken down". Wallace needs to get involved quickly, or he's going to have egg on his face if there's a serious problem with T Division classified computing.
 
Indeed it does seem a bit unfair to single out the T-Division COS for all of this flaming. There are many other deserving individuals. Has anybody dealt with the LANSCE Deputy Director for Operations? He continues to be abusive in meetings to those who ask questions. And, heaven help the poor Technician who might be so foolish to disagree with him.
 
Dear 7/15/2005 11:27:34 AM Poster:

Give me a call. You sound perfect for a job in my group!

Baghdad Bob
LANL Public Affairs
 
The big problems in T Division are due to the lack of effective and responsible leadership. Alan Bishop is basically a nice man, certainly not a psychopath. However, he is apparently in over his head and not prepared to deal with difficult personnel and programmatic issues. The authority of the groups to deal directly with their concerns has been usurped by the division office, but the division office has not done the job, resulting in the loss of both good people and programs.
 
Is Bishop a nice man who can't deal with the complexities of his position, or is he a clever man who encourages another (the COS) to be his hatchet person (good cop - bad cop)?

He is certainly aware of issues within the Division and is afraid to address them headon with the staff without the COS at his side or in a very controlled situation with time constraints that limit real discussion.

It doesn't help to have Bishop gone to Bechtel for weeks helping Bechtel write the science side of Bechtel's contract bid and leaving the running of the division to Dotson. This has left a vacuum which the COS has used to her advantage. She has such a control over the division that a group leader may not even reclassify his group office admin without her permission.

Since the COS position can be abused, it is one that must be tightly defined and rigorously supervised or it becomes the tail wagging the dog. A COS should never be permitted to have any authority over any techincal aspects of a division, including computer support. A COS should never be allowed the power of dictating to groups which admins they may and may not promote. The COS works for the division; the division staff do not work for the COS. Except in T Division.
 
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