Workplace Wisdom

04 Sep 2018

How to Support Employees When They Need Help

“Am I feeling too much empathy for my staff’s problems?” a client asked me the other day. Coincidentally, another client had asked a similar question just a day earlier. Both clients worried that they were letting their feelings about team members’ personal concerns eclipse their managerial responsibility to require accountability and performance. In one case, the supervisor recognized that an employee’s caring for an aging parent was both necessary and important even though it was creating scheduling conflicts and distractions; […]

28 Aug 2018

How to Use Body Language to Be Effective in a Tough Work Situation

I picked up the phone the other morning and as soon as I heard my client speak, I realized that although she was calling at her regular time, she wasn’t using her “regular” voice. “How are you?” I asked her, with both curiosity and concern. “You won’t believe it!” she started off, but she sounded so distressed that I broke in to ask where she was, whether she was sitting or standing, and where in her body she was most […]

21 Aug 2018

How to Tell Your Team That Organizational Change Is Coming

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. From time to time, every leader has to deliver news that is hard for employees to hear. Even when businesses are doing well, organizational and structural change is to be expected, and acquisitions, reorganizations, or policy changes can affect people’s jobs in ways that create feelings of fear, anger, or sorrow. Each employee wonders, “How will this change affect me?” or assumes, “Oh, this won’t be good! How am I going to get my work […]

14 Aug 2018

How to Handle Colleagues Who Respond to the Leader and Ignore You

Have you ever worked with someone who seemed like a heat-seeking missile when it came to power, authority, and status? Whether they’re frontline service reps or senior vice presidents, these individuals turn toward their bosses the way flowers turn toward the sun — cultivating that relationship over all others, always trying to derive some tangible benefit from their personal connection with the leader. Leaders can get attached to these employees because they’re usually very reliable within their particular sphere of […]

31 Jul 2018

Why You Need to Be Able to Make Your Case to a Variety of Audiences

Very few decision-makers operate completely independently — even CEOs usually have to answer to a board. So unless you’re a sole owner, or a sole employee, you need to appeal to many different audiences to get support for your initiatives, as well as people’s participation or compliance. In fact, even if you — and perhaps your team — know exactly what you want to accomplish and why, you won’t get far without organizational buy-in. If you don’t deal with them […]

24 Jul 2018

Want to Be Successful? Make More Teams of Two

Unless you’re the sole decision-maker, you need employee support for your decisions. Even leaders must rely on networks and coalitions, along with informal ways to collaborate, coordinate, and share. Yet at the same time, at every level and in every kind of job, more and more people in the workplace are feeling detached, not cared about, or not recognized for who they really are. Everyone does better when they feel that they matter and that they’re noticed — and the […]

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, […]

 

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