Workplace Wisdom

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 hbr.org. 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 […]

27 Aug 2019

This Is What You Can Do When Your Job Is Not Enough

A thoughtful reader saw my piece “How to Help Yourself If You’re Feeling Stuck at Work” in Forbes, and wrote to me. She wanted to know how to deal with the burnout she’s experiencing from being bored and demoralized by a job that doesn’t take advantage of her expertise. Even worse, she feels ignored and demeaned by management that refuses to see her value and potential. Burnout can come from underuse as well as overuse. And it can be exhausting! […]

30 Jul 2019

How to Be Your Own Best Colleague

For years, we’ve heard that it’s crucial to have a friend at work. I’ve seen it in my own practice: Whenever I interview groups of employees, in very different kinds of organizations, I ask, “What’s good about this place? Why do you stay?” The most frequent and consistent answer I hear is “Because of the people.” But not everyone has someone at work who’s a true friend — someone who has their back, helps them think things through, and hangs […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

09 Apr 2019

How to Work for a Boss Who Has Unrealistic Expectations

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. Whether your manager is a front-line supervisor or the CEO, every leader occasionally has unrealistic expectations. But some bosses are unrealistic most of the time. They don’t take into account the facts on the ground, or they habitually refer to their past experiences at other companies rather than to the people and events in the current organization, or perhaps they report to someone who’s even more aggressive or overly optimistic than they are. When you […]

02 Apr 2019

How To Rise To The Occasion After Negative Feedback

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com. It’s hard to take criticism well. When we’re receiving negative feedback, it’s common to flash back to past experiences of being found wanting from times as early as childhood. And some experts say our reaction to being criticized is related to the feelings of being physically assaulted. Unfortunately, it’s hard to implement even the most well-meaning feedback if we can’t bear to hear it, or try to push it away and deny its merits. To do a […]

 

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