Simon Says

OK, so I admit it. I’m an American Idol junkie (though not as much as I was two weeks ago, before my two favorites, Nadia and Anwar, got the boot). But when I rehash the show with the two or three other people in my age group who fess up to watching it, I’m always amazed by everyone’s negative reaction to mean man Simon Cowell.

OK, so in a management sense the guy is definitely lacking in emotional intelligence. He doesn’t say that at least Constantine looked good before comparing him to a Spanish nightclub singer. I think “hideous” was his one-word comment for another performer. 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 what judge Paula Abdul does, after all: She tries to make everyone feel good, but never gives them 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?JR