Workplace Wisdom

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 […]

08 Jan 2019
What to Do If You Think Your Boss Is Shutting You Out

What to Do If You Think Your Boss Is Shutting You Out

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. In an ideal world, your boss would support you and your career goals, open up opportunities, and pave the way for you to be successful at your company. But the world isn’t ideal and even managers who once seemed quite supportive can make a sudden shift. For example, the boss of a technical director I worked with seemed to lose confidence in her and would effectively embargo her comments, not sharing them with other […]

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 […]

23 Oct 2018

The Problem with Using “I Statements” at Work

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. It has become common advice for businesspeople to use “I statements” — such as, “I feel frustrated that you missed the budget deadline twice” — as a way to raise challenging conversations without causing colleagues to feel blamed or under attack. Indeed, I statements may be helpful during situations in which you have a close personal relationship to a colleague who cares about your well-being, or when you want to show that a particular […]

16 Oct 2018

5 Things to Do When an Employee’s Performance Deteriorates

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. For all kinds of reasons, even longstanding, highly productive employees can experience a performance slump at some point. The Towers Watson Global Workforce study showed that up to 26 percent of workers surveyed said they felt disengaged, and another 17 percent felt detached. As a founder, you may not always find an obvious way to get someone back on track, but the investment of energy you would need to turn this situation around is still so much less […]

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 […]

26 Sep 2018

How to Get Your New Boss Up to Speed for Mutual Success

When a new leader comes into your organization, many aspects of the relationship are effectively outside your control. You may have little-to-no input into specifying job requirements, screening for style or experience, or figuring out how the job now varies from what your old boss was doing. Nor can you control what senior leadership wants from the new executive. But you still have crucial perspectives on how to get the work done and how to function smoothly in your organization. […]

18 Sep 2018

What to Do When You Realize You Made a Bad Hire

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. Sometimes it happens that a candidate who had the right credentials, seemed to fly through the interview process, and had lovely references turns out to be an unexpected problem after hiring. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, consider yourself lucky, because only 19% of new hires are considered fully successful, according to a frequently cited study, and by the 18-month point 46% are deemed failures. If you’ve been in this situation, you’ve had to […]

 

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