Workplace Wisdom

10 Jul 2018

Focus on Tasks, Not Emotions, to Save Money on Conflict

“Conflict costs businesses a ton of money,” management guru Steve Caldwell observed while interviewing me recently. Caldwell is a team leadership coach, the author of Manager Mojo: Be the Leader that Others Want to Follow, and the creator of the podcast Manager Mojo, where he highlights commonsense solutions to management and leadership issues. These lightly edited excerpts from our conversation create a through-line from the reasons for conflict to tips for reducing the disruption and expense that conflict causes. How […]

03 Jul 2018

5 Tactics That Will Help You Adjust to Your New Leader

Let’s say, you’ve been working hard, minding your own business, and suddenly you learn that you’re going to have a new boss. Maybe your old boss is leaving, or perhaps you’ve been reorganized. Whatever the reason for the change, you’re worried — which is both reasonable and practical — about how you and your new boss will get along, whether your work will be disrupted, and if your career will suffer or be supported. On top of your purely personal […]

26 Jun 2018

True Lessons in How to Make Presenting Less Painful

I have a love/hate relationship with public speaking. Or maybe it’s a terror/exhilaration relationship. Anyway, it’s a part of my job that runs the gamut from stressful and draining to highly rewarding. Last week, one of the voices in my head was reminding me of this responsibility as I was delivering what’s now called a “live, online presentation” — formerly known as a webinar — on how to lead from the middle for the World Business and Executive Coaches Summit. […]

08 May 2018

How to Work Safely with a Boss Who Doesn’t Do Follow-up

Early in my career, a senior leader in my firm was a master of “what-if,” “blue-sky” thinking. He would come up with an idea, assign it to whichever staffer happened to be around at the moment, and then, more likely than not, forget about it. Most of the employees who had experience with this leader’s wild goose chases would wait until he asked for something a second time before investing five minutes or a lick of work. All too often, […]

10 Apr 2018

How to Manage an Employee Who Cries Easily

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. Most managers feel uncomfortable when employees cry during business conversations. Many of us may recall a time we’ve cried at work, but for some people it’s not a rare occurrence. Some individuals seem to react excessively to disappointment or challenge, with repeated bouts of apparent sadness or fear accompanied by tears, shaking, or reddening. If you manage someone who tears up easily, you may find yourself leaving important topics or issues unaddressed to avoid […]

27 Mar 2018

What to Do If Your Boss Doesn’t Like Someone You Manage

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. At a meeting, a low-level leader thought he was being helpful by pointing out why the CEO’s ideas couldn’t be implemented. The CEO did not find this endearing, and she conveyed that message to the employee’s boss. The manager trapped in the middle turned to me for help: how could he protect his employee — who was good at his job — from a CEO who now saw him as a naysayer? If you […]

20 Mar 2018

How to Claim Your Authority When You Feel Like One of the Gang

We all know that a title isn’t enough to elicit respect from your subordinates, or even to develop confidence in yourself. If employees and other leaders think of you as having grown up in the business, they may not take you completely seriously. You can feel torn between wanting to be well regarded and accepted by your team, and making sure that all the work is going the way it needs to go. If you have a reasonable amount of […]

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 […]

27 Feb 2018

Why You Need to Be Skeptical of People Who Say They’re Strategic

Have you ever heard a colleague announce, “I’m a strategic thinker!” or defend their methods or process by claiming, “But I’m being strategic!”? Maybe I’m dealing with too small a sample of leaders at a variety of levels, but I’ve never seen anyone become more successful, gain more respect, or get promoted more quickly just because they say they’re strategic. Yet I often hear people insist that they’re strategic, sometimes forcefully, when what’s really going on is that they’re feeling […]

23 Jan 2018

How to Make a Small Tweak in Communication for a Surprisingly Big Change

When I interviewed a group of highly experienced technical employees at a client company last week, one of the things I asked them was what consistently made them nuts on the job. They told me about daily frustrations that ranged from software problems to the challenges of trying to do deep, creative thinking in the distracting open-office setup — all of which were straightforward, reasonable concerns. And then one observably upbeat and seemingly unflappable fellow shook his head a little, […]

 

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