Workplace Wisdom

29 Sep 2015

How to Talk — and Listen — to Yourself

Self-improvement can seem like too much work if you don’t feel strong enough or you’re not quite sure you’re worth the investment. People in Western cultures often find it difficult to be kind to themselves. Sure, we’re pretty skilled at self-indulgence, such as applying ice cream or scotch, going on buying sprees, or just letting ourselves off the hook when we don’t want to be responsible. But letting ourselves be irresponsible doesn’t work. What we need is a loving firmness […]

04 Aug 2015

When to Stop Trying So Hard

Some executives are too hard on themselves. They anticipate failure or disaster when all they’re really facing is the relentless, ongoing effort that’s necessary for leadership and management success. They let fear and anxiety take up headspace and sap their energies, when what they really need to do is apply their intensity to thoughtful decision-making and focused thinking. Instead of Getting Down on Yourself Here’s an illustration: Recently I had an extensive back-and-forth via phone and email with a nonprofit […]

21 Jul 2015

How to Keep From Drowning in Your Own Thoughts

Are you stuck somewhere inside your head, talking to yourself about things you want to change? Are you stressing over how stalled you feel, or fixating on why the situation is so awful? No wonder you can’t sleep at night and feel fretful all day! Why not get some benefit out of your worries and doubts? Move them out of your head, where they’re scrambling like countless little hamsters on a squeaky hamster wheel. Externalize them so you can use […]

28 Apr 2015

The Benefit of the Benefit of the Doubt

I hate to be in default or in the wrong, or to create a problem for someone. So I was quite distressed when I was scolded by a client’s administrator — not someone I usually work with — for being unresponsive and not sending in some materials. Is Anything Really Wrong? My first internal reaction was defensive justification: “Of course I sent it in!” My second internal reaction was doubt: “Oh my! What if I didn’t send it in! What […]

10 Mar 2015

8 Things to Do to Be a Better Leader, Part 2

Whether you’re an experienced leader, an emerging leader, or a developer of leaders, you’re always looking for ways to help employees do better and feel better at work. Last week’s post covered four priority areas to help you work toward better performance with your team and within your organization. This week, we’ll look more closely at self-awareness and self-management as crucial aspects of leadership. Here are four things you can do to make a significant contribution to your leadership success […]

03 Mar 2015

8 Ways to Be a Better Leader, Part 1

A number of readers wrote in about my recent post, 20 Questions for Leadership Success. They agreed that the questions for assessing their leadership were valid and useful. But they were concerned about how to make real progress in those areas where they didn’t feel strong enough, particularly if they didn’t have personal access to a consultant, coach, or even a dedicated buddy who could help them in concrete ways. Of course their specific questions and needs were all different. […]

16 Dec 2014

Because We Can Breathe

Like many people, I’m deeply outraged and upset about the recent grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers who killed unarmed black men. And like many others, my perceptions and concerns are shaped by my own biases. So let me be as explicit about them as I can. I’m a management consultant, a woman, a Jew, and a parent. I am white, well educated, and a New Yorker — a person of lucky and significant privilege. In some […]

09 Dec 2014

How Are You Reacting to Feedback?

It can be even tougher to accept feedback than it is to give it. It’s never easy to hear that your idea, behavior, or effort didn’t have the desired effect or wasn’t well received. When you’re given negative feedback, you may feel wronged, misjudged, or just plain uncomfortable. It can be hard to listen closely or find a good response on the fly. It can be difficult to know when it’s appropriate to comment, and even if you don’t speak, […]

18 Nov 2014

How to Emphasize Praise for Feedback Success

In last week’s post, The Truth About Workplace Feedback, we looked at the significance of having a generally positive relationship with an employee before asking the employee to take in and apply critical feedback. A positive relationship isn’t necessary because it’s nicer. And it’s not because everyone should get a trophy. It’s just practical: All employees are human, and all humans make mistakes. And the vast majority of humans have trouble taking in criticism. In fact, according to communication experts, […]

21 Oct 2014

Do You Need to Cope with a Conflict-Averse Executive?

When an executive disagrees with a proposal or approach, the situation can go in two directions: In the best-case scenario, the disagreement gets worked through collegially, even if it means that other people — other executives, even — have to change their approach in order to achieve a resolution. But in the worst-case scenario, for whatever reason, the executive feels that she can’t, shouldn’t have to, or doesn’t have the time to work things through. She may make some gentle […]

 

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