Workplace Wisdom

23 Oct 2018

The Problem with Using “I Statements” at Work

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. It has become common advice for businesspeople to use “I statements” — such as, “I feel frustrated that you missed the budget deadline twice” — as a way to raise challenging conversations without causing colleagues to feel blamed or under attack. Indeed, I statements may be helpful during situations in which you have a close personal relationship to a colleague who cares about your well-being, or when you want to show that a particular […]

16 Oct 2018

5 Things to Do When an Employee’s Performance Deteriorates

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. For all kinds of reasons, even longstanding, highly productive employees can experience a performance slump at some point. The Towers Watson Global Workforce study showed that up to 26 percent of workers surveyed said they felt disengaged, and another 17 percent felt detached. As a founder, you may not always find an obvious way to get someone back on track, but the investment of energy you would need to turn this situation around is still so much less […]

09 Oct 2018

If Your Way Isn’t Working, You Need to Stop Insisting on It

Many successful people assume that the way they behave is a substantial part of what helped them get to where they are. Whether or not that’s true, as leaders, we may neglect to take into account the peculiar needs and coincidences of the organizational environment, the market conditions, and a host of other factors that might have helped us — like knowing the right person or being at the right place at the right time. Worse, we may not own […]

03 Oct 2018

How to Retain and Engage Your B Players

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. We’ve heard for decades that we should only hire A players, and should even try to cut non-A players from our teams. But not only do the criteria for being an A player vary significantly by company, it’s unrealistic to think you can work only with A players. Further, as demonstrated by Google’s Aristotle project, a study of what makes teams effective, this preference for A players ignores the deep value that the people you may […]

26 Sep 2018

How to Get Your New Boss Up to Speed for Mutual Success

When a new leader comes into your organization, many aspects of the relationship are effectively outside your control. You may have little-to-no input into specifying job requirements, screening for style or experience, or figuring out how the job now varies from what your old boss was doing. Nor can you control what senior leadership wants from the new executive. But you still have crucial perspectives on how to get the work done and how to function smoothly in your organization. […]

18 Sep 2018

What to Do When You Realize You Made a Bad Hire

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. Sometimes it happens that a candidate who had the right credentials, seemed to fly through the interview process, and had lovely references turns out to be an unexpected problem after hiring. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, consider yourself lucky, because only 19% of new hires are considered fully successful, according to a frequently cited study, and by the 18-month point 46% are deemed failures. If you’ve been in this situation, you’ve had to […]

12 Sep 2018

4 Mistakes to Avoid When You Have to Deliver Bad News

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. One of the most important jobs of leaders is to tell people what’s going on, even when the news is bad. Leaders must be able to address everything from an individual performance issue to the denial of budget for new personnel or other resources, the loss of a client or project, even an existential threat to the business, such as a tariff or regulatory change. The first time as a young manager that I fired […]

04 Sep 2018

How to Support Employees When They Need Help

“Am I feeling too much empathy for my staff’s problems?” a client asked me the other day. Coincidentally, another client had asked a similar question just a day earlier. Both clients worried that they were letting their feelings about team members’ personal concerns eclipse their managerial responsibility to require accountability and performance. In one case, the supervisor recognized that an employee’s caring for an aging parent was both necessary and important even though it was creating scheduling conflicts and distractions; […]

21 Aug 2018

How to Tell Your Team That Organizational Change Is Coming

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. From time to time, every leader has to deliver news that is hard for employees to hear. Even when businesses are doing well, organizational and structural change is to be expected, and acquisitions, reorganizations, or policy changes can affect people’s jobs in ways that create feelings of fear, anger, or sorrow. Each employee wonders, “How will this change affect me?” or assumes, “Oh, this won’t be good! How am I going to get my work […]

14 Aug 2018

How to Handle Colleagues Who Respond to the Leader and Ignore You

Have you ever worked with someone who seemed like a heat-seeking missile when it came to power, authority, and status? Whether they’re frontline service reps or senior vice presidents, these individuals turn toward their bosses the way flowers turn toward the sun — cultivating that relationship over all others, always trying to derive some tangible benefit from their personal connection with the leader. Leaders can get attached to these employees because they’re usually very reliable within their particular sphere of […]

 

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