Workplace Wisdom

24 Apr 2018

How to Deal with a Colleague Who Threatens You

“I won’t oppose you now, but if anything goes wrong, I’ll go toe-to-toe with you.” My colleague was already standing practically toe-to-toe with me — and besides being much taller and stronger than I, he was leaning forward and speaking in a threatening tone. He disagreed strongly with a decision I was making, but had neither the authority nor the group support to counter it. If he wasn’t actually going to take a swing at me (and of course he […]

20 Mar 2018

How to Claim Your Authority When You Feel Like One of the Gang

We all know that a title isn’t enough to elicit respect from your subordinates, or even to develop confidence in yourself. If employees and other leaders think of you as having grown up in the business, they may not take you completely seriously. You can feel torn between wanting to be well regarded and accepted by your team, and making sure that all the work is going the way it needs to go. If you have a reasonable amount of […]

13 Mar 2018

What to Do While You’re Waiting to Be Promoted

When some hotshot skyrockets through the ranks on the way to the C-Suite, other middle managers can feel slighted or overlooked. They worry that they’re not getting enough opportunity or recognition, and wonder why their boss or someone from HR isn’t coming to tell them what a great job they’re doing and promote them. But meeting expectations and staying out of trouble is never enough to ensure advancement. Whether you have your sights set on the boardroom or you see […]

06 Mar 2018

How to Survive Being Promoted Past Your Peers

A significant number of employees, supervisors, managers, and even vice presidents find themselves getting promoted and having to figure out not only how to detach from their old peers as well as how to fit in with their new ones. The transition can be difficult to navigate, but these 10 behaviors can help you avoid the standard pitfalls and become more successful faster. Leave your old job carefully. Exiting your old department with unfinished projects or messy relationships will undercut […]

13 Feb 2018

How to Look Beyond Your First Impressions of Employees

Some leaders believe they can size up employees and their work styles — even people who don’t report to them — based on how the employees look or seem. These leaders make assumptions along the lines of “This is how that person is,” as if there’s no hope for the employee ever to improve or change. We all make instinctive judgments, based on our past experiences. As leaders, though, we have two crucial responsibilities: We need to adjust our assumptions […]

06 Feb 2018

Do You Notice Every Relevant Thing You See?

When your expectations get in the way, you may not notice what’s right in front of you. There’s been enough research done about cognitive biases that by now we all know we have them, even if we don’t pay them much mind on a daily basis. In fact, the Cognitive Bias Codex — which is quite fascinating and worth taking a look at — details over 180 of these patterns. Lost in Translation I had my own funny experience of […]

30 Jan 2018

10 Reasons It’s Risky to Be Friends with Your Staff

Clients often ask me how to deal with tricky interpersonal relationships in the workplace. Two of the most challenging situations occur when a leader hires a friend or even the friend of a friend, or when a leader and a subordinate start a social relationship and then experience a professional or personal falling-out. Compensation and friendship are rarely a healthy combination. Financial and emotional commitments can get mixed up, and that doesn’t even take into account the effects of the […]

02 Jan 2018

When a Good Thing Triggers a Surprisingly Bad Response

This holiday season I gave a small gift to a local supplier as a token thank you. It was clear from her immediate reaction that she’s not used to receiving client gifts. She started out by protesting, “Oh you shouldn’t have done that!” Then she turned excessively grateful: “It was so wonderful of you to do this!” But suddenly she shifted into a negative mode about everything that was wrong with people and the way holidays are celebrated today: “No […]

14 Nov 2017

How to Get the Best from Millennials: Don’t Make Them a Monolith

At a luncheon for women business owners a few weeks ago, several people at my table complained about the Millennials on their staffs: They don’t follow directions or only do exactly what we tell them, and they don’t take the work seriously. These business leaders practically egged each other on: Millennials are sullen; they don’t communicate; and, when facing big project deadlines, never go the extra mile. Getting to Know Your Millennials After a few minutes, I interrupted the game […]

08 Nov 2017

How to Work with a Manipulative Person

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. Almost everyone who’s ever gone to work has had to deal with an office manipulator. Unfortunately, most employees hesitate to go public with their concerns. And with good reason: Even if they do, typical corporate responses range from wary or dismissive to actually retaliating against the victim, rather than the wrongdoer. Unfortunately, many workplaces promote manipulators because they appear to be effective at getting things done, despite the significant costs their abuse can inflict on productivity and peopleover time. […]

 

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