Workplace Wisdom

23 Jul 2019

Why Leaders Fail to Make Succession Plans – And What to Do About It

This article originally appeared on The European Financial Review. Boards and executive teams may lament the lack of a succession plan for the business, but struggle to find the time or approaches that will ensure a successful future. It can be stressful and disruptive to consider the departure of the CEO and the risks of business transition, but following some straightforward steps will help smooth the way. Over the last 10 years, research has shown that more than 50% of […]

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 […]

09 Jul 2019

Managing an Underperformer in a Family Business

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. In family businesses, leaders sometimes make hiring and staffing decisions based on relationship and obligation as much as on competence and experience. After all, one purpose of these firms is to provide employment for family members. But that doesn’t mean all family members perform effectively. A few may feel so entitled or untouchable that they slack off or stop collaborating, and sometimes they get a pass for their mistakes or behaviors. At times, they may […]

25 Jun 2019

What to Do When Your Direct Report Starts Crying (Besides Panic)

This article originally appeared on The Muse. There’s more and more media coverage and management literature today about the importance of authenticity at work. There’s a book and an accompanying TEDx talk called “Bring Your Whole Self to Work” by a fellow named Mike Robbins, and a completely separate TED talk called “Why You Should Bring Your Whole Self to Work” by Dan Clay. Generation by generation, people are learning to be more of who they are, and not to […]

18 Jun 2019

How to Keep Your Cool with a Variety of Office Interrupters

I used to work with a guy who would stick his head into my office and say, “Got a minute?” Of course, he always took a whole lot more. All kinds of interrupters can steal your focus and make a tossed salad of your thoughts, from people stopping by your desk, to your boss wanting “just one more thing,” to colleagues literally breaking into your speech and your train of thought during a meeting. Unbelievably, most office workers are interrupted […]

11 Jun 2019

These Unexpected Lessons Help New Managers Be Successful

Being responsible for managers early in their careers is no picnic. There are so many things that they don’t know — and can mess up! Here are several crucial areas experienced managers often don’t think to explain, but which can save new managers — and therefore their bosses and team members — from a world of heartache and repair. Delegating isn’t leading. Most new managers start out by distributing or assigning work as if they’re sharing it, treating their team […]

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. […]

14 May 2019

Here Are the Reasons Leaders Feel Like No One Listens

Why is it that leaders often believe they’ve given clear direction, while the rank-and-file remains practically unaware that there’s been any communication at all? I just got an email from a mid-level manager who’s in the midst of a change initiative. He noted that although “those among the senior leadership felt they had communicated the change, allowed for inclusion and involvement and felt positive about the process,” the staff feel strongly that “they had zero voice, were not included in […]

16 Apr 2019

This Is What Happens When a Leadership Team Falls Out of Alignment

Misaligned leadership eventually disrupts teams and their work, putting employees at cross purposes, log-jamming initiatives, and making people at all levels feel stalemated or overwhelmed with negotiating daily details. Even misaligned leaders themselves can feel disconcerted and annoyed. It’s obvious that when people have to fight their way through their jobs every day, they’re not likely to have any energy or headspace for new ideas or improvements. So why do so many organizations tolerate this situation? Is Your Leadership Misaligned? […]

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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