Workplace Wisdom

09 Jan 2018

How to Stop Counterproductive Criticism and Coach Constructively

One of the most frequent concerns I encounter when I’m interviewing business people — regardless of whether they work on the frontlines or are members of boards of directors — is that they rarely hear any good news. People complain that they don’t find out whether initiatives have turned out well, and they certainly don’t receive enough personal praise. What they do hear plenty of, though, is what’s not working and when people are unhappy with them. And what do […]

21 Nov 2017

8 Simple Questions Help You See What’s Ahead for Your Business

The other day, when I ran into a mid-level manager I know, he told me that the technical services firm he works for has been acquired twice in the last few years. We talked about some of the challenges of being the acquired company, including this major one: By the second acquisition, no one in power actually cares about who you are or what your real business is; by then, they’re only concerned about how much money the firm can […]

31 Oct 2017

How to Start Restoring Your Boss’s Faith, and Your Own

Most of us have made at least one big mistake at work, and had a hard time getting back on an even keel. But it doesn’t help to wallow in self-doubt. Luckily, there are usually ways we can pull ourselves out of the hole. A manager from a client company contacted me in distress last week: He had mishandled a personnel issue badly by conveying an inaccurate impression of a work situation to some subordinates. His boss had given him […]

12 Sep 2017

How to Get the Best from Your HR Department

Too often, I hear leaders and staff in all kinds of organizations express a lack of confidence in their human resources departments. For many senior executives, this lack of confidence is actually a lack of respect. They criticize HR for not understanding the business or not being strategic. There’s also a lack of respect for HR lower down in organizations, but there it comes from a lack of trust. Employees say things like: “HR is not your friend here,” or […]

25 Jul 2017

What Happens When Leaders Divide to Conquer

Working with teams or leaders in conflict is a crucial part of many of my assignments — even when it was not included in the original scope of work. Sometimes these disagreements arise because individual team members or colleagues instigate dissension or turmoil. Historical norms and structural changes can also trigger or perpetuate interpersonal or interdepartmental problems. But surprisingly frequently, conflicts arise from a lack of alignment around goals and responsibilities caused by a leadership structure called “hub-and-spoke.” The term […]

11 Jul 2017

This Is How to be a Leader in Name Only

Aspiring, self-aware leaders think of leadership as a practice and a way of life. They’re always looking for growth opportunities and greater self-mastery, whatever their rank or title. And yet a surprising number of executives operate as leaders in name only, neither understanding nor caring about what inspires employees to be creative, diligent, or do their best work. If you’d like to lead in name only, here are some tips you can follow. On the other hand, if you’d prefer […]

06 Jun 2017

In What Ways Is Your Work Like a Cocktail?

It’s a rare thing to chuckle your way through a book on management and leadership. But I was so entertained by The Perfect Mix: Everything I Know About Leadership I Learned as a Bartender by Helen Rothberg, that I had to remind myself to pay attention to the leadership content. This soon-to-be-released book reads as if it’s one part short story, one part memoir, and one part you-can-do-it handbook. Throughout the book, Rothberg imparts major lessons on how to manage […]

30 May 2017

How to Get Ready When You Have to Deliver Bad News

However hard it is for you to be the bearer of bad tidings and to take responsibility for getting the delivery right, at least you’ll have a chance to prepare. At minimum, preparation consists of three stages: Determining the content to be communicated. Anticipating what’s likely to happen during the delivery. Figuring out how to manage yourself throughout the process. Bad news at work includes things like a project proposal being turned down, or a person being at risk of […]

16 May 2017

What to Do When Priorities Are in Conflict

Expand your market share. Increase your margin. Reorganize your team. Given the constant drumbeat of new and changing initiatives, it’s reasonable to wonder which priorities are truly the most important. I hear about this from clients with great frequency: “We just can’t get to everything.” “We’re not making enough progress.” “We do a new strat plan every few years, but we don’t seem to have moved any further.” Try Not to Lose Your Way It’s hard to work on more […]

28 Mar 2017

This Is How to Lead from the Ground Up

Leadership can be a function of raw power, or of influence. Based on analysis of a current news item, here are seven underlying principles that, when applied properly and consistently, ought to make any leadership coach proud. They’re not easy to practice, but they’re laid out clearly in the story of controversial quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Leadership Lessons from the Field of Play Do everything you can with whatever you’ve been given, even if it’s less than others have. Colin Kaepernick […]

 

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