Workplace Wisdom

19 Mar 2019

How to Get a New Employee Off on the Right Foot

“What do I need to do to make sure James gets off to a good start?” my client asked. Leaders talk a lot about setting people up for success, but most onboarding seems to focus on documentation for HR files, occasionally on formal task training and only rarely on “how things work here.” Employees who aren’t part of a large training group are often left to figure things out on their own. That’s why I’m always happy when a manager […]

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? […]

26 Feb 2019

How to Respond When Employees Ignore Feedback

Don’t you get frustrated when you’ve told an employee a hundred times what you need them to do, or how they’re supposed to behave, yet it makes no difference? Or even worse, when the person tells you they understand, or says the magic words, “I’ll try to do better,” but nothing changes? The reason nothing is changing could be because you’re not taking a decisive, accurately targeted approach. First, consider that there’s a significant difference between dealing with someone who […]

19 Feb 2019
4 Things Your Leaders Should Know by Now

4 Things Your Leaders Should Know by Now

For some of my clients, I meet with midlevel directors and managers or frontline supervisors and team leaders to assess what their concerns are, and what support they need to be successful. Way more often than you’d think — or maybe not — the employees tell me about processes that don’t work, turf battles, and other kinds of customer and employee problems. And much, much too often, when I ask if their senior leaders are aware of these conflicts or […]

12 Feb 2019

Why You Need to Cut Out the Leadership Ghosting

There’s been much discussion recently about job candidates ghosting potential employers, and perhaps even worse, employees ghosting their actual employers. But there’s another longstanding practice that creates disruption and negative feelings: Some managers ghost their own employees. Managers can be slow to respond to employee requests and other communications for all kinds of legitimate reasons. They may experience the common stresses of inbox and meeting overload, or delay their responses while they’re trying to triage urgent issues. But that’s no […]

29 Jan 2019

Yes, You Need to Address the Problem of Employees’ Mental Health

If you work with at least five people, there is a high likelihood that one of them is suffering from some form of mental illness, according to data from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). And yet we usually treat mental illness like a secret personal issue, the way people used to whisper about cancer or divorce. But this is a business issue. As a reader from Guatemala wrote to me, “Nobody is planning on this, but we get […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

 

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