Workplace Wisdom

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 […]

12 Mar 2019

How To Recover From Stressful Workplace Problems In 5 Simple Steps

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com Whether you’ve been part of an uncomfortable conflict, gotten turned down by an important customer, or had to deliver bad news to your team, upsetting things happen at work almost every day. To be effective, you need to identify what you can control in the situation rather than ruminating over your reactions to the problem. These five tips will help you keep everything in proportion and get back to whatever else you need to do. Assess your […]

05 Mar 2019

What Should You Do When You Know a Project Is Bad?

Most projects and initiatives start out with carefully thought-out plans and a decent chance of success. But every once in a while, you get that sinking feeling that something is heading for a flop: not the kind of failure that comes from a reasonable experiment or despite a good effort, but one that results from misfires due to errors in analysis or lack of executional capability. Who has the responsibility to nix a bad project or debunk an unrealistic forecast? […]

15 Jan 2019
Why You Need to Stop Relying on Your Strengths

Why You Need to Stop Relying on Your Strengths

The other day, I gave a leader feedback about how to develop one of his team members, prepared for a coaching session with a different executive, and sat in on a leadership team meeting with a third. These three interactions, with three very different people, sounded a recurring theme: When we rely too much on our historical strengths and patterns, we sometimes avoid the new work we need to do and wind up impeding our continuing success. Even good, solid […]

02 Jan 2019
What Would It Mean to Be an Activist at Work?

What Would It Mean to Be an Activist at Work?

Sometimes things happen at work that seem just plain wrong. Most of us stand by, hoping conditions will get better. But all too often, they don’t, and we continue waiting, meanwhile becoming more and more worried or disengaged. When we see something going wrong or not working well, it can be hard to know what to do. Is it appropriate to say something? And if so, who should we tell? You don’t need to suffer in silence. If your boss […]

13 Nov 2018

Why You Need to Stop Referring to Women at Work as “Lovely”

Thanks to the #MeToo movement, we all know not to tell colleagues that they look “hot.” But language that isn’t overtly sexual can also cause problems. Even a seemingly innocuous word like “lovely” can be used in a gendered way that has surprisingly bad outcomes for productivity and effectiveness. Here’s a real-life illustration of why avoiding “lovely” matters, and some suggestions for what to say instead. The Lowdown on “Loveliness” At a leadership conference I attended recently, I bristled a […]

06 Nov 2018

How to Raise a Problem and Not Hurt Work Relationships

Maybe you’ve heard this saying: “The world is divided into people who know they are right.” That’s the entire saying — and you can see why! Whether it’s a kneejerk reaction, or a data-gathering process that’s heavily subject to confirmation bias, most of us have a hard time questioning our belief that what we assume happened must be what actually happened. So when something goes wrong in the workplace, how can you avoid confronting the other person as if it’s […]

 

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