Workplace Wisdom

30 Oct 2018

What You Should Do If You See Your Boss Is in Trouble

It’s a boss’s job to provide employees with direction and guidance, ensuring effective performance and development. That includes keeping employees safe within the organization and helping them do well, for their own sake and to ensure the team, gets a good return on their hiring and training investment. But even if your relationship with your boss is solid, it doesn’t mean that everyone else is happy with them or that they’re successful in their roles and responsibilities. Your boss could […]

22 May 2018

How to Work with Ambitious Employees When There’s No Growth Opportunity

When you’re lucky enough to employ someone who has the capacity to do superior work and then grow past the job, but you haven’t got an appropriate outlet for them, it can be a challenge to keep them in the company, let alone within your work group. One of my clients got in touch recently to discuss what to do about two very different team members who’ve told him they are interested in growing beyond their current roles. Case 1: […]

13 Mar 2018

What to Do While You’re Waiting to Be Promoted

When some hotshot skyrockets through the ranks on the way to the C-Suite, other middle managers can feel slighted or overlooked. They worry that they’re not getting enough opportunity or recognition, and wonder why their boss or someone from HR isn’t coming to tell them what a great job they’re doing and promote them. But meeting expectations and staying out of trouble is never enough to ensure advancement. Whether you have your sights set on the boardroom or you see […]

31 Oct 2017

How to Start Restoring Your Boss’s Faith, and Your Own

Most of us have made at least one big mistake at work, and had a hard time getting back on an even keel. But it doesn’t help to wallow in self-doubt. Luckily, there are usually ways we can pull ourselves out of the hole. A manager from a client company contacted me in distress last week: He had mishandled a personnel issue badly by conveying an inaccurate impression of a work situation to some subordinates. His boss had given him […]

19 May 2017

Being the Boss’s Favorite Is Great, Until It’s Not

This article originally appeared on We’ve all been in situations where the boss has a favorite. It’s frustrating to feel underresourced and underrecognized while someone else is getting all the attention. Ironically, though, it can be just as challenging to realize that you’re the boss’s new “pet.” While it’s great to get extra attention and have your work recognized, there’s often a price to pay for being the favorite. You could find yourself at risk in four ways. First, […]

14 Jul 2015

Who Should Be Responsible for Career Plans?

Not everyone wants to be a manager or should be one. Lots of people are more comfortable as subject matter experts, sole contributors, or administrators than as implementers. Not everyone needs multiple promotions to feel satisfied and productive. And while some people do pursue a career trajectory based on a dream they’ve cherished since childhood, many more find their path through a combination of accident and serendipity. But when the only route to employee growth is up through the existing […]

09 Sep 2014

3 Reasons and 3 Ways to Help Someone Out … of Your Organization

How can you tell when an employment relationship has run its course? And what if you’ve figured it out, but the employee hasn’t? Often, the problem is a function of fit: The organization has evolved in some way or the job itself has changed, but the employee has not adapted. Or maybe the employee wasn’t really right for the job from the beginning, but you tried to make it work anyway. Start from the Top Sometimes managers are so concerned […]

25 Jun 2013

Honing a New Marketing EDGE

It’s a fantastic thing to watch an organization grow and develop — and to be able to talk about it publicly. I don’t usually blog about my clients directly, perhaps out of an excess of caution that publicizing even their improvements might somehow expose them inappropriately. So it’s a pleasure to be able to share this report of organizational evolution with full confidence that it’s good for the organization! On June 11, the corporation that was founded as the Direct […]

04 Jun 2013

Want Effective Managers? Focus on These Development Fundamentals

A surprising number of companies no longer expect their senior managers to develop their people: They turn management development over to outsourced coaching firms instead. I’m a strong proponent of “coaching” for behavior change and improvement. But I get concerned when the majority of coaching is handled by outsiders who are not personally familiar with the running of the business. It’s great if outside coaching ensures that all managers or prospective managers are getting developmental attention, which they may not […]

08 Nov 2011

Piercing Questions about a Successful Manager

Daughter had been asking to have her ears pierced for as long as, well, for as long as she knew what it meant. So we went to the mall. To the accessories and jewelry store, Claire’s, which had the most extensive information online about the piercing process, and the most complex set of disclosures and disclaimers. From my perspective, all these warnings and disavowals probably meant that they’d had significant experience. Claire’s is a teeny store, crammed so full of […]


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