Workplace Wisdom

14 Feb 2017

4 Powerful Steps on the Way to Cross-Functional Agreement

I had a call with an up-and-coming middle manager who presented a complex situation and then asked a sincere question. A small cross-functional working group was trying to resolve some interdepartmental workflow and boundary issues. They had been dealing with — and avoiding — the same difficulties and discrepancies for almost 18 months out of fear of impending loss of status, staff, self-determination, etc., for at least some of the group’s members. “We have the brains” to work on the […]

24 Jan 2017

How to Find Agreement When You Come from Opposite Sides

I’m very lucky to experience much less disagreement or outright conflict on the job than most people. Although my clients’ views may differ from mine in many ways, it’s implicit in our relationship that we’re mutually committed to figuring things out together and coming to the strongest possible joint solutions. But some of the folks I work with have dozens of crucial disagreements every week as if they are explicitly job responsibilities! In fact, I often coach or counsel people […]

03 Jan 2017

Workplace Wisdom’s Most Popular Posts of 2016

One very practical way to move forward is to review past successes and expand on them. So I checked to see which Workplace Wisdom blog posts attracted the most attention in 2016 to learn which topics would be most useful to readers and worth revisiting from a variety of angles in 2017. The Three Top Picks 7 Surprisingly Simple Secrets to Managing Millennials This post covered some of the challenges that senior execs perceive when working with Millennials. It’s tough […]

18 Oct 2016

Tried and Tested Ways to Make Better Team Decisions

When leaders make decisions skillfully, everyone on the team wins. But when leaders are poor decision-makers, the team’s performance and culture suffer, and individual team members can lose confidence and become disengaged. Unfortunately, though, team members don’t always make good decisions on their own. They may not have the experience or acumen, they may come in with preconceptions, or they may not recognize the ramifications of their choices. Most of us just make up our minds, without rigorously examining the […]

06 Sep 2016

When We Misread Cues and Get Things Wrong

We like to think we understand what’s going on. But sometimes we get things completely wrong. Take a look at this very short video about how, even with the best intentions, our attempts to understand, please, and get things right can fall short — resulting in confusion, disappointment, and maybe even a little shock. Note the boy’s facial expressions. We’ve all experienced the boy’s feeling of optimism suddenly turning to dread. Seeing this video reminded me of a troubling experience […]

23 Aug 2016

10 Unexpected Lessons: Launching My New Website

As a professional, get-things-done type, I pictured my rebranding and website relaunch project like this: plan the project, hire and supervise providers, deal with occasional setbacks, and be generally pleased with the result four to six months later. That’s not how it worked out. It took three copywriters, four photographers, and three different design groups — and over three years. I needed to get it wrong — repeatedly — to learn how to get it right. Yearnings and Learnings I […]

09 Aug 2016

How to Screen Out a Star to Save the Team

In the recent Harvard Business Review article “How Facebook Tries to Prevent Office Politics,” Jay Parikh, Facebook’s global head of engineering and infrastructure, advises against hiring “empire builders, self-servers, and whiners” — even if they’re also smart, skilled, and experienced people. How sensible! And how strategic! Organizations always need competent people who care about growth and progress, know how to focus attention, and can play the “squeaky wheel” when an important issue needs attention. But they can’t afford employees who […]

05 Jul 2016

How to Get the Best from an Anxious Leader

After working for a number of months with a vice president who’s had a successful career trajectory in a well-regarded firm, I realized that every few years I meet leaders who are noticeably anxious — even among the senior ranks. They’re usually intelligent, knowledgeable, technically proficient people who care about others and want to perform well for their organization’s sake as well as their own. Unfortunately, they may not have had the right development at crucial points in their careers, […]

04 Nov 2014

4 Practically Proven Ways to Disagree Productively

Disagreements and conflicts occur in every organization, no matter how high-functioning the team, how clear the mission, or how lovely the people. As we’ve seen in the last two posts, conflict-averse executives who don’t share their true opinions out of fear of near-term discomfort often end up coping with bigger problems in the long term. It’s much more practical to learn to disagree productively. Skillful disagreement takes both thought and practice. Here are four different tactics for removing some of […]

23 Apr 2014

Avoiding the Downside of Sharing in the Workplace

It’s not easy to share responsibility. Successful examples of responsibility being shared within organizations certainly exist — from official job-sharing to collective accountability for corporate goals and outcomes. But getting a given job or project done well depends on having both appropriate structural underpinnings and the right combination of people, with the right meshing of values, commitments, personal strengths, and styles. What Happens When We Share? In day-to-day life, there are two primary kinds of sharing. In the first case, […]

 

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