Workplace Wisdom

09 Jul 2019

Managing an Underperformer in a Family Business

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. In family businesses, leaders sometimes make hiring and staffing decisions based on relationship and obligation as much as on competence and experience. After all, one purpose of these firms is to provide employment for family members. But that doesn’t mean all family members perform effectively. A few may feel so entitled or untouchable that they slack off or stop collaborating, and sometimes they get a pass for their mistakes or behaviors. At times, they may […]

25 Jun 2019

What to Do When Your Direct Report Starts Crying (Besides Panic)

This article originally appeared on The Muse. There’s more and more media coverage and management literature today about the importance of authenticity at work. There’s a book and an accompanying TEDx talk called “Bring Your Whole Self to Work” by a fellow named Mike Robbins, and a completely separate TED talk called “Why You Should Bring Your Whole Self to Work” by Dan Clay. Generation by generation, people are learning to be more of who they are, and not to […]

18 Jun 2019

How to Keep Your Cool with a Variety of Office Interrupters

I used to work with a guy who would stick his head into my office and say, “Got a minute?” Of course, he always took a whole lot more. All kinds of interrupters can steal your focus and make a tossed salad of your thoughts, from people stopping by your desk, to your boss wanting “just one more thing,” to colleagues literally breaking into your speech and your train of thought during a meeting. Unbelievably, most office workers are interrupted […]

11 Jun 2019

These Unexpected Lessons Help New Managers Be Successful

Being responsible for managers early in their careers is no picnic. There are so many things that they don’t know — and can mess up! Here are several crucial areas experienced managers often don’t think to explain, but which can save new managers — and therefore their bosses and team members — from a world of heartache and repair. Delegating isn’t leading. Most new managers start out by distributing or assigning work as if they’re sharing it, treating their team […]

04 Jun 2019

How To Improve Employee Engagement In The Digital Era

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com. Despite all the research showing that employee engagement leads to improved business results, only 16% of employees experience the necessary conditions for engagement, such as “a clear sense of purpose, a commonly held notion of what’s valuable or important, feelings of psychological safety, and confidence about the future,” according to Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall in Harvard Business Review. Of course, better business results aren’t the only reason companies should focus on employee engagement. As Kevin Kruse points out in […]

28 May 2019

How to Avoid the Damage a “Working Manager” Can Do to Your Team

Does your company rely on “working managers” who simultaneously do the job they supervise? Many companies do, without being aware of the downsides. Working managers are most often found in small companies, where even those in leadership have to roll up their sleeves and pitch in to get the work done, whether it’s packing and shipping merchandise that must go out immediately, answering phone calls whenever it gets busy, or designing web pages —while being responsible for the work of […]

21 May 2019

How to Handle a Glitch in the Chain of Command

If your job is in the middle of an organization —as a senior manager, a director, an assistant VP, or even a VP with a couple of levels between you and the CEO — then you’re in leadership, even though you’re not at the top. When you’re in the middle, from time to time, you’ll probably get a direction that rings wrong or gives you a bad feeling, and it’s often hard to know what to do when that happens. […]

14 May 2019

Here Are the Reasons Leaders Feel Like No One Listens

Why is it that leaders often believe they’ve given clear direction, while the rank-and-file remains practically unaware that there’s been any communication at all? I just got an email from a mid-level manager who’s in the midst of a change initiative. He noted that although “those among the senior leadership felt they had communicated the change, allowed for inclusion and involvement and felt positive about the process,” the staff feel strongly that “they had zero voice, were not included in […]

07 May 2019

How to Help Inexperienced Young Employees Be Successful

Seasoned workers often complain about the unrealistic expectations and mistaken judgments of young, inexperienced employees. Yet organizations need junior people, beginners who aren’t aware of, or even interested in, everything their predecessors have done for the last 10 years. But you can ease junior employees’ entry, help them be more productive, and encourage their receptivity to senior colleagues’ intentions and concerns. Here are some ways to start young staffers off on the right foot and keep them on track. Point […]

30 Apr 2019

How to Make Sure You’re Leading When You’re a People-Pleaser

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com. Good leaders tend to be skilled at satisfying their customers and supporting their colleagues. But if these positive approaches are taken too far they can backfire, and strong leaders can turn into weak people pleasers. Leaders who try too hard to be “nice” can also come across as lacking integrity.  Their facial microexpressions and other physical reactions alert colleagues that they’re not really on the level. That’s especially true when leaders try to avoid seeming […]

 

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