Workplace Wisdom

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 […]

17 Jan 2017

Watch Out for 3 Surprising Mistakes in Executive Hiring

Why would you ever consider hiring someone whose behavior you disrespect? Eventually, the relationship will end in tears — and if you’re not the one crying, you’ll be handing out the Kleenex. But it can be extremely challenging to find and hire the optimal person, and companies can wind up choosing people who bring whopper weaknesses to the job along with their desirable strengths. Unfortunately, some weaknesses are so damaging that they can outweigh even significant strengths. So be careful! […]

10 Jan 2017

6 More Remarkable Books, Sure to Improve Work Relationships

When I suggested 6 Books to Make You Feel New and Improved in 2017 — to be consumed at the rate of one book every other month — readers responded so well that I’m recommending six more titles for the alternate months. This second short list of favorites offers multiple alternative and complementary ways to look for everyone’s best and help them bring it out. If you apply the lessons and concepts in these books, you’ll improve your understanding of […]

20 Dec 2016

6 Books to Make You Feel New and Improved in 2017

The good life, according to Socrates, is highly examined, and I think it’s definitely enhanced by lots and lots of reading. If you value human development, personal growth, and self-mastery a fraction as much as I do, here’s fresh grist for your mill. These six books are intensely practical: They propose concrete things you can do to make your experience of — and impact on — the real world even better than what you do naturally. In addition to providing […]

06 Dec 2016

Do You Share This Bad Communication Habit?

I’ve got a bad habit in some of my interactions. It breaks my own rules about showing respect, recognizing that I don’t know everything, and giving people full control over their own choices. I was reminded of it recently one evening during rush hour in Penn Station. I passed a very tall fellow who was hollering into his phone, “You know what you need to do…” as if he meant it as a question. But he clearly wasn’t asking, he […]

29 Nov 2016

Want to Be a Successful Leader? Guess What: It’s Not About You

Think about every boss you’ve had since you were a kid, even including the parents of the kids you babysat, the owner of the greasy spoon where you waited tables, and the director of the camp where you were a counselor. Were any of these bosses so inspiring that whenever they come to mind, you recall how much you wanted to be like them? What behaviors clued you in that these folks belong to a special category of successful leaders? […]

20 Sep 2016

How Can I Help You If I’m Not Listening to You?

“Andy, you’re not listening to me, bro!” I heard this accusation delivered in the hall outside my office in a very tense tone by a fellow with a very tense face. There’s a mortgage brokerage on my floor, and sometimes, when the phone reps are having a hard time with a borrower, they leave their office and talk on their mobiles or headsets in the hallway. Real estate transactions can be stressful. They involve big money, huge commitments, and multiple […]

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, […]

28 Jun 2016

When Being Strategic Is a Weakness

During a recent visit to a client company, I spent time with two different leaders whose initiatives weren’t progressing satisfactorily. The first leader was chatty and made sweeping motivational statements. Her team was deeply committed, but their work had been dragging along at a slow pace, never meeting their growth targets. The second leader, who was less outgoing, was spearheading a new project that drew participants from various areas of the organization. The members of his ad hoc group were […]

21 Jun 2016

Four Conditions Required for Motivation

A successful sales manager was feeling demoralized and out of sorts. When we met for coffee, she sat knee to knee, radiating intensity. “Of course, motivating the team is one of my biggest responsibilities,” she told me. “But when the powers-that-be say, ‘Motivate the team,’ what they really mean is, ‘Get the results.’ My boss is under the gun for numbers, so it’s push, push, push all the time. “It’s true that not all my guys are meeting their targets. […]

 

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