Workplace Wisdom

16 Oct 2019

Here Is a New Way to Stop Saying “But”

A dear client and I were having a call the other day, discussing some development that one of his subordinates needed. “I’m going to tell her that this is good,” he said, “but I need her to do these other things as well,” and he laid out the problem that really needed attention. I was surprised. “You really think she’s going to buy that?” “No,” he answered, and laughed, because it was so obvious. No Buts About It: “But” Means […]

10 Oct 2019

When You Have to Generate Your Own Advice

When I ran into a local café to pick up some lunch, I saw a young woman who used to work there. She was visiting old colleagues after her first month as a first-year college student. I asked how things were going, and she described a situation full of real worry and stress. Not only was there a financial aid problem, but she had not yet had a meeting with her advisor, and without that crucial oversight she had registered […]

24 Sep 2019

Managing an Employee Who Wants to Impress You All the Time

This article originally appeared on Every leader knows they shouldn’t play favorites — it can lead to dissatisfaction and discord on a team. There are even some surprising disadvantages for the person who is the focus of the boss’s special attention. But there will always be team members who want to make it into your inner circle, and sometimes a subordinate can be singularly focused on pleasing you and gaining your favor. This kind of courtship usually comes from fear, and […]

17 Sep 2019

How To Work Effectively With A Worrier—Even If It’s You

This article originally appeared on Forbes. Between political upheaval, stock market gyrations and general office politics, there’s plenty for any professional to be concerned about these days. As a business person, it’s part of your job to do rigorous risk assessments, but if you go too far and make yourself excessively anxious, you might disturb your own clear thinking and productive action. Assuming that your worries—or those of your colleagues, subordinates or boss—are in roughly the normal range, using these […]

10 Sep 2019

Everyone’s Unique. If You Want Results, Treat Them That Way

“How do you actually work with the people you coach?” asked a senior human resources officer and prospective client. I explained a variety of scenarios based on my current roster of clients. “Everyone is different,” I answered. “People need personally tailored support to grow into their roles and to truly be and do their best. Some clients want business advice, some want mentoring, others want a sounding board.” I’m an advisory coach, so I adjust my services depending on my […]

20 Aug 2019

How to Work with a Leader Who’s Consistently Unclear

No matter how high up you are in your organization, it’s frustrating when your boss thinks they’re being perfectly clear about plans, goals, and premises, but you know there are details they’re unaware of, concerns they don’t understand, or important considerations they don’t care about. I’ve worked with many strong operations execs who have been perceived to be negative for identifying and pointing out all the likely shortcomings in an otherwise exciting idea. Certain leaders simply don’t want to hear […]

13 Aug 2019

How to Shift from Asking for Trust to Being Trustworthy

Twice in the last couple of weeks, senior leaders have asked me for examples of trust-building exercises, or instructions for running trust facilitations, as a way to create trust among a group of people who don’t know each other or don’t already trust each other. But as I said to them, please don’t ask your employees to trust you, or their other managers. Likewise, don’t ask your leadership team to ensure that employees trust their managers or senior leaders — […]

06 Aug 2019

Here Are 3 Ways HR Can Improve Its Credibility

This article originally appeared on Forbes. HR leaders have a tough job: They have to make and enforce rules that protect the organization, while simultaneously supporting employees as people. These responsibilities can often be in conflict, creating discomfort for both HR and employees. Despite the commitment and care of most HR professionals, the business press is full of articles like “HR Is Not Your Friend. Here’s Why” and the EEOC estimates that “75 percent of all workplace harassment incidents go unreported […]

23 Jul 2019

Why Leaders Fail to Make Succession Plans – And What to Do About It

This article originally appeared on The European Financial Review. Boards and executive teams may lament the lack of a succession plan for the business, but struggle to find the time or approaches that will ensure a successful future. It can be stressful and disruptive to consider the departure of the CEO and the risks of business transition, but following some straightforward steps will help smooth the way. Over the last 10 years, research has shown that more than 50% of […]

17 Jul 2019

How to Help Yourself If You’re Feeling Stuck At Work

This article originally appeared on Forbes. When I interview executives for corporate change management or improvement projects, they often talk about the feeling that they’re not making or seeing enough progress. Indeed, according to Gallop’s 2017 State of the Workplace report, fully two-thirds of U.S. employees feel disengaged at work. But it’s not necessary to feel trapped in “career malaise,” stuck in the same tasks and facing the same hassles. I spoke with Dorie Clark, who teaches for Duke University’s Fuqua […]


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