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 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 […]

03 Sep 2019

Why I Think Discredited Personality Assessments Have Value

When an opinion piece that was skeptical about personality tests appeared in the New York Times recently, I knew I was going to have to write about it, and hoped it wouldn’t be too painful. I don’t like junk science. I accept the principles of evolution, had my kids vaccinated, and work to reduce my carbon footprint. But I regularly flout the published scientific studies and opinions that contest the validity of many personality tests. Personality profiling has been around […]

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 […]

09 Jul 2019

Managing an Underperformer in a Family Business

This article originally appeared on 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 […]

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 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 […]


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