Workplace Wisdom

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 […]

09 Apr 2019

How to Work for a Boss Who Has Unrealistic Expectations

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. Whether your manager is a front-line supervisor or the CEO, every leader occasionally has unrealistic expectations. But some bosses are unrealistic most of the time. They don’t take into account the facts on the ground, or they habitually refer to their past experiences at other companies rather than to the people and events in the current organization, or perhaps they report to someone who’s even more aggressive or overly optimistic than they are. When you […]

12 Mar 2019

How To Recover From Stressful Workplace Problems In 5 Simple Steps

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com Whether you’ve been part of an uncomfortable conflict, gotten turned down by an important customer, or had to deliver bad news to your team, upsetting things happen at work almost every day. To be effective, you need to identify what you can control in the situation rather than ruminating over your reactions to the problem. These five tips will help you keep everything in proportion and get back to whatever else you need to do. Assess your […]

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 […]

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 […]

19 Jun 2018

This Is Why Being an Employee Is Not Like Being a Navy SEAL

An up-and-coming manager at one of my client companies asked for help with a longstanding employee. Over time, his behavior had become problematic for other employees — and sometimes for customers as well. In addition to making more and more mistakes and creating conflict with co-workers, he had begun ignoring his manager’s feedback and doing juvenile things like claiming he didn’t have time to get his work done while blatantly engaging in social media and other online diversions during work […]

08 Nov 2017

How to Work with a Manipulative Person

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. Almost everyone who’s ever gone to work has had to deal with an office manipulator. Unfortunately, most employees hesitate to go public with their concerns. And with good reason: Even if they do, typical corporate responses range from wary or dismissive to actually retaliating against the victim, rather than the wrongdoer. Unfortunately, many workplaces promote manipulators because they appear to be effective at getting things done, despite the significant costs their abuse can inflict on productivity and peopleover time. […]

19 Sep 2017

4 Ways to Ease the Pain of Interdepartmental Conflict

When departments operate in silos — say operations wants to streamline processes while sales seeks to please customers by customizing — the result can be repeated misunderstanding and extreme mistrust. Even otherwise reasonable employees can appear to be locked in perpetual battle for authority, resources, status, or the pure triumphant joy of being able to one-up the other. Senior leaders often treat ongoing conflicts as just the cost of doing business in complex organizations. But the actual expense attributable to […]

25 Jul 2017

What Happens When Leaders Divide to Conquer

Working with teams or leaders in conflict is a crucial part of many of my assignments — even when it was not included in the original scope of work. Sometimes these disagreements arise because individual team members or colleagues instigate dissension or turmoil. Historical norms and structural changes can also trigger or perpetuate interpersonal or interdepartmental problems. But surprisingly frequently, conflicts arise from a lack of alignment around goals and responsibilities caused by a leadership structure called “hub-and-spoke.” The term […]

 

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