Workplace Wisdom

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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