Wednesday, December 30, 2009

10 Best and Worst Bosses: Which One Are You?

We’ve all had bosses that we’ve either loved or hated. The boss who helped you get that promotion, or the one who clipped his toenails at his desk.

Some help us advance our career, while others seem to hold us back. Different leadership styles can lead to different results for each employee. But certain styles seem to be good or bad across the board, helping or hurting all employees with one fell swoop.

Check out these five worst and five best leadership styles and find out which one you are!

Worst: The Know-It-All

The Know-It-All has done everything you’ve done, but better and faster. Somehow, in the time that they’ve been in the workforce, they have managed to accomplish every feat known to the IT world. Regardless of your accomplishment, they will let you know how it could be done better.

Not only are they omnipotent, but they expect you to be all-knowing as well. The Know-It-All will assign a three-day task to be completed in one day. They will give you vague instructions and expect you to figure out what must be done. Or they will assign you an impossible task – one that not even they could perform – and demand it on their desk by the end of the week. The Know-It-All is all about pushing you to your limit to prove that they are smarter than you or to see if you can measure up.

Worst: The Hovercraft

You can almost hear the faint buzzing of The Hovercraft as it floats over your shoulder, watching your every move. Nothing can be left to your own devices. Even when The Hovercraft is away from the office, they will constantly check in to make sure everything is running smoothly. In The Hovercraft’s office, it’s 1984 and Big Brother is watching.

With The Hovercraft, everything must be double-checked. Second-guessing is second nature to this boss. Without their stamp of approval, no task is actually complete. The Hovercraft has trust issues that can only be cured by years of therapy.

Worst: The Best Friend

Work is just another reason to socialize for The Best Friend. They view their team as a circle of friends, whether their employees like it or not. No subject is off limits. They feel the need to share every detail of their life with the staff, as well as ask you personal questions about yours.

The Best Friend knows no personal boundaries. They are the boss that will give you a backrub while standing over your shoulder. Or who shares, in detail, their sexual exploits behind their closed office door. In essence, The Best Friend is just a sexual harassment suit waiting to happen.

Worst: The Ghost

You never see The Ghost, but their presence is everywhere in the office. The Ghostseems to have an infinite amount of vacation time, or is always on a business trip. But when the cat is away, the mice can’t play. The Ghost will haunt the office through e-mails and phone calls, making sure everyone has plenty to do in their absence.

The problem: It’s hard to get any work done when your boss isn’t there to answer questions. Can’t decide the best way to complete a task? Better figure it out. Have a personal issue with a coworker? Take it up with them. Need something signed or approved? Better hope they are near a phone or fax machine. By constantly being out of the office, The Ghost can accomplish their tasks without the nuisance of actually having to manage their team.

Worst: The Bully

It’s like the third grade school yard all over again, except this time The Bully isn’t after your lunch money, they are after your time and commitment. They aren’t interested in your problems or your opinions. The only thing The Bully wants is for you to work as hard as humanly possible and make them look good to upper management.

The Bully makes all team decisions, with little or no input from the rest of the staff. Their word is gospel, and to challenge them is to spit in the face of the company. And since The Bully seems like such an asset to the company – mostly due to all the work you put in – it’s futile to go around them. Working with The Bully always ends up being a lose-lose situation.

Best: The Cheerleader

The Cheerleader isn’t so much about teaching and training, but more about making you feel good about what you do. Did you make you finish your project ahead of time? Good job! Did you land that content partnership you’ve been eyeing? You’re awesome!

While this leadership style won’t propel your career, it does help motivate you to accomplish your goals. The Cheerleader knows that compliments make you feel successful and good about yourself. They are the carrot used to motivate you to accomplish what you want, and look toward loftier goals.

Best: The Teacher

The Teacher remembers the time when they were in your shoes, when they wished there was someone to show them the ropes. They take you under their wing and try to impart all the knowledge they wished they knew at that time.

There is never a stupid question to The Teacher. Everything is a learning experience. They are not one to grab the phone or mouse out of your hand and do it themselves. ToThe Teacher, the only way to learn is by doing. The ultimate goal is to see the pupil succeed, which makes the employees the number one priority.

Best: The Communicator

To this boss, there is no such thing as over-communicating. Every detail of the goals and objectives of their team is laid out for everyone. Every e-mail from upper management is forwarded to the entire team. The Communicator wants to make sure that their team is constantly in the loop.

The Communicator is always around to answer any questions you may have, and will always answer them as honestly as possible. They are always willing to have a heart-to-heart about work issues, but never about personal matters. And, of course, the office door is always open.

Best: The Enabler

The Enabler knows that you have the means to accomplish any task, you just may need some guidance to get there. Instead of spending all day with you like The Teacher, they are more likely to make a few suggestions to get you on your way, and then leave the rest up to you.

The Enabler’s favorite catch phrases are “Have you thought about doing this?” or “What about trying this?” Their suggestions are never commands, and they are completely comfortable with you taking the lead on any project, as well as the praise when it succeeds. They want you to succeed, but don’t feel the need to push to get you there.

Best: The Captain

To The Captain, his employees are his team. It’s essential that everyone works together toward the same goal. If there is a rift in the team, he’s the peacekeeper that swoops in to mend the wound. If the team succeeds, he credits every employee. But if the team loses, he takes the weight on his shoulders.

The Captain acts as the go-to player on the team. If something falls through the cracks, he is there to catch it. If someone calls in sick, he is there to fill in. If a last minute assignment pops up five minutes before quitting time, he will fall on the sword for the sake of his team. The Captain’s only goal as a manager is to make sure he is doing everything he can to make sure his team is running efficiently.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Doo Wop White Christmas


Michael Jackson’s FBI Files Reveal Extortion, Terrorist Threats

The FBI’s dossier on Michael Jackson — over 300 pages of files ranging from an alleged extortion plot against the King of Pop to documents concerning the FBI’s involvement in Jackson’s child molestation trial — were released today as part of the Freedom of Information Act, the New York Times‘ ArtsBeat blog reports.
The files reveal that in 1992, an unnamed man attempted to extort Jackson, threatening, “I will personally attempt to kill if he doesn’t pay me my money.” The man, who pleaded guilty to extortion and was sentenced to prison in 1993, also proclaimed, “I’ll commit mass murder at a Michael Jackson concert if necessary, in an attempt to murder Michael, then you will have to deal with my situation in the public eye.” Similar death threats were made to mob boss John Gotti and then-President George H.W. Bush.
As for the FBI’s documents regarding the child molestation trial, according to TMZ, local authorities in Santa Maria reached out to the FBI out of concern that the trial could be viewed as a “soft target” by terrorists, adding that the “worldwide media coverage” might appeal to terror groups. The FBI determined there was no terror threat in that case. The FBI was also involved in some regard into the investigation of Jackson’s child molestation charges, as local authorities reached out to the FBI to see if they were interested in “working a possible federal violation against Jackson concerning the transportation of a minor across state lines for immoral purposes.” Jackson was ultimately found not guilty of the charges.

Monday, December 21, 2009

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`Avatar' blasts off with $232.2 million worldwide

James Cameron launched his science-fiction epic "Avatar" into a safe orbit as the costly film soared to No. 1 with $73 million domestically and $159.2 million overseas, for a $232.2 million worldwide total.
With that big a start, distributor 20th Century Fox was quick to proclaim it made a good investment with the estimated $400 million spent to make and market the film, which is Cameron's first narrative feature since 1997's "Titanic," the king of modern blockbusters.
"Absolutely. No question," said Chris Aronson, head of distribution for the studio, which reported stellar reaction in exit polls from audiences after seeing "Avatar." "The word of mouth is something that I don't know I've ever seen in this business before."
"Avatar" was a test case for the future of digital 3-D projection, which until now has been a hit with audiences mainly on animated family films.
The film fell short of the record for December debuts of $77.2 million set two years ago by Will Smith's "I Am Legend." But it did break the record for a film opening in 3-D, previously held by last summer's "Up" with $68.1 million.
"What they spent on this movie was totally justified, and they're going to more than earn it back," said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for
"Avatar" stars Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana in a love story amid human-alien conflict on a distant moon in the 22nd century.
Storms on the East Coast kept many people at home, cutting into weekend movie business.
"The weather really, really hurt," said Rory Bruer, head of distribution at Sony, whose comedy "Did You Hear About the Morgans?", opened at a weak No. 4 with $7 million. Sony had expected the movie to debut at about $8 million.
The movie stars Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant as a couple whose crumbling marriage gets a fresh jolt after they see a murder and are sent into witness protection.

The overall box office shot up on the strength of "Avatar." Hollywood's domestic revenues came in at $134 million, up 51.5 percent from the same weekend last year, when "Yes Man" opened at No. 1 with $18.3 million, according to
The previous weekend's No. 1 movie, Disney's animated musical "The Princess and the Frog," slipped to second place with $12.2 million, raising its total to $44.8 million.
Paramount's recession story "Up in the Air," which led last Tuesday's Golden Globes announcement with six nominations, broke into the top 10 as it widened to more theaters ahead of its nationwide expansion Wednesday.
"Up in the Air" came in at No. 8 with $3.1 million. The film stars George Clooney as a man addicted to the frequent-flyer life as he travels the country firing people at downsizing companies.
Two music-themed films had strong starts in limited release as they position themselves for Academy Awardsattention. The Weinstein Co. musical "Nine" opened big with $246,933 in four theaters, for an average of $61,733 a cinema, compared to an average of $21,147 in 3,452 theaters for "Avatar."
Based on the stage musical that was inspired by Federico Fellini's film masterpiece "8 1/2," "Nine" has an all-star cast that includes Daniel Day-LewisNicole KidmanPenelope Cruz and Kate Hudson. "Nine" goes into nationwide release Christmas Day.
Fox Searchlight's "Crazy Heart," starring Jeff Bridges as a boozy country singer trying to turn his life around, pulled in $84,204 at four theaters in New York City and Los Angeles, averaging $21,051 a cinema. The film expands to four more markets on Christmas Day.
No one expects "Avatar" to be another "Titanic," which started with a modest $28.6 million opening weekend domestically but held on at No. 1 for months. The film finished with a record $600 million domestically and $1.8 billion worldwide.
Before "Avatar" opened, Cameron had said the movie might not have a "slam-dunk opening weekend" but that its profitability hinged on how well it held up in subsequent weekends.
Unlike other Hollywood franchises, which usually are based on comic books, TV shows, toys or other existing stories and ideas, "Avatar" was an original tale whose concept was not pre-sold to audiences.
Much of the action takes place among 10-foot-tall, blue-skinned aliens created by digital cameras that captured actors' performances, with computer animation adding the details of the characters, along with the exotic backgrounds and other effects.
Some reviewers found the story and characters two-dimensional, but critics generally were wowed by the dazzling images Cameron created.
"I think it is the must-see film event of recent memory," Fox executive Aronson said. "I do believe it is a game-changing movie. It will change the way people think about movies, the way they see movies, what they want to see in movies."
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "Avatar," $73 million.
2. "The Princess and the Frog," $12.2 million.
3. "The Blind Side," $10 million.
4. "Did You Hear About the Morgans?", $7 million.
5. "The Twilight Saga" New Moon," $4.4 million.
6. "Invictus," $4.2 million.
7. "Disney's a Christmas Carol," $3.4 million.
8. "Up in the Air," $3.1 million.
9. "Brothers," $2.6 million.
10. "Old Dogs," $2.3 million.
On the Net:

Jackson's death voted top 2009 entertainment story

Here are 2009's top entertainment stories as voted by U.S. newspaper and broadcast editors surveyed by The Associated Press.
1. MICHAEL JACKSON DIES: On June 25, Jackson was pronounced dead at the age of 50. One of the most momentous and shocking deaths in pop culture history, the event reverberated in many ways. There was the ongoing investigation: Jackson's death was ruled a homicide, and his personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, who says he's innocent of wrongdoing, is being investigated for manslaughter. There was the gigantic Los Angeles funeral. There was the documentary, "This Is It," of Jackson's preparations for a comeback concert series. But, perhaps most of all, there was the celebration of his music, on stages and sidewalks the world over.
2. SUSAN BOYLE BECOMES OVERNIGHT SENSATION: Two 21st-century powers — reality TV and the Web — combined to turn the humble, unknown Boyle into an international star. After Boyle sang "I Dreamed a Dream" on "Britain's Got Talent" on April 11, the clip spread like wildfire online, totaling more than 120 million views onYouTube. Her album, released in November, had the best opening week sales of a female debut in decades.
3. LATE-NIGHT SWAP: On NBCConan O'Brien took over the "Tonight" show, and Jay Leno moved to 10 p.m. All the fanfare may have been overdone, though: At year's end, neither was receiving good ratings.
4. WALTER CRONKITE DIES: The passing on July 17 of Cronkite, a paragon of journalism and a father figure to a nation, was not only the sad loss of a universally acknowledged great man but was a reminder of a bygone era in broadcasting.
5. DAVID LETTERMAN AFFAIR: Letterman's Oct. 1 announcement on his "Late Show" carried two bombshells: He alleged that he had been the victim of an extortion attempt, and he confessed to having affairs with women on his staff. Letterman, who hasn't shied from the subject on air, saw some of his best ratings in years. The man accused of trying to blackmail Letterman, Robert J. "Joe" Halderman, says he was just shopping a screenplay.
6. CHRIS BROWN ASSAULTS RIHANNA: The big story on Grammy night in 2009 didn't take place on stage but outside the ceremony. Chris Brown assaulted then-girlfriend Rihanna, an altercation that led to Brown pleading guilty to felony assault in June. Both R&B stars were in comeback mode before the year was out, releasing new albums just weeks apart.
7. KANYE WEST ROBS TAYLOR SWIFT: Bad behavior, not awards, also ruled the story line at the MTV Video Music Awards. When a stage-crashing West interrupted Swift's acceptance speech for best female video, the rapper clearly underestimated the negative reaction he would inspire.
8. LIVE VIDEO EXPLODES ON THE WEB: One of the biggest trends in online video was the emergence of demand — and supply — for live video. Live online video particularly suited daytime news events (when people are at work in front of computers). Millions online watched the inauguration of President Barack Obama and the funeral of Michael Jackson.
9. KATE AND JON GOSSELIN BROADCAST SPLIT: One of reality TV's latest sensations fell apart just as it was reaching fruition. TLC's "Jon & Kate Plus 8" was winning its best ratings in its fifth season when the Gosselins — parents of eight children — announced their separation. With more than 10 million viewers, that episode earned the show its best ratings. Arguments in the divorce, which became final in December, have thus far prevented the show from continuing. TLC hopes to debut a show for Kate Gosselin in the spring.
10. HEATH LEDGER WINS POSTHUMOUS OSCAR: Ledger, whose death topped the poll of 2008's top entertainment stories, remained a presence in 2009, when he won an Oscar for best-supporting actor for his performance as the Joker in "The Dark Knight."

Taylor Swift voted AP entertainer of the year

It's a love story, baby.
Taylor Swift sang those words about a young romance, but they apply just as well to America's feelings for the 20-year-old country singer. Swift, adding to the heap of awards already bestowed on her, has been voted The Associated Press entertainer of the year.
Swift was chosen by newspaper editors and broadcast producers across the country in a survey of AP members. She follows last year's winner, Tina Fey, and 2007's pick, Stephen Colbert.
"I am so honored and so excited," Swift said in an interview by phone with the AP. "This was so unexpected, and I could not be more grateful."
Though her second album, "Fearless," came out in late 2008, Swift was ubiquitous in 2009.
She found critical acclaim for her autobiographical and infectious songwriting, exemplified in tunes such as "Love Story" and "White Horse." She led a sold-out tour across 52 cities in North America.
She won album of the year from the Country Music Awards and theCountry Music Association Awards. She hosted "Saturday Night Live" and performed at the Grammys. She won five American Music Awards, including artist of the year.
At one point, she had eight songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Swift said that several nights of her year were "golden and shiny and I'll remember forever." Hosting "SNL" was one of those.
"That entire week was life-changing, honestly," said Swift. "It makes you feel so thankful to be a part of the music industry, but more than that, to me, 'SNL' is show business."
Another live show, the MTV Video Music Awards, was more of a mixed blessing for Swift. She was accepting the award for best female video (the first VMA to be given to a country act) when Kanye West stormed the stage and interrupted her speech. West's stunt set off a media storm that perhaps said as much about Swift's popularity (fans and musicians alike came to her defense) than it did about West's.
Among those who voted for Swift for entertainer of the year was Danielle L. Kiracofe, entertainment editor for the Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper.
"In a time of 'made' musicians, she writes her own songs and has her own sparkly style," said Kiracofe. "She's managed to do all of this with grace, class and poise — and without uttering a swear word, dancing on a pole or wearing next to nothing. At the age of 20."
Ellis Widner, style editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, applauded Swift for superseding generational boundaries.
"She defines crossover appeal and would seem to be a strong business model in a declining music business," Widner said. "And to her fans, she's the real deal. On MySpace and in her songs, she wrote what she felt and sang about her experiences."
At year's end, Swift's life is in flux. She'll soon move out from home with her family, making this Christmas an emotional one for her.
She may well have more trophies to haul in, too: In January, she'll be attending the Grammys, where she's nominated for eight awards. She's already begun to look beyond 2009.
"The second that I put out `Fearless,' the moment that album came out and I was done with it, I started writing for my next album," said Swift. "I love to plan 20 steps ahead of myself, and it's really fun competition game that I play with myself, trying to top what I've done last. For this next record, that's all that I've been thinking about, that's all that my mind has been fixated on for the last year, and it's all that I'm going to be thinking about for this next year."

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