Workplace Wisdom

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 […]

06 Mar 2018

How to Survive Being Promoted Past Your Peers

A significant number of employees, supervisors, managers, and even vice presidents find themselves getting promoted and having to figure out not only how to detach from their old peers as well as how to fit in with their new ones. The transition can be difficult to navigate, but these 10 behaviors can help you avoid the standard pitfalls and become more successful faster. Leave your old job carefully. Exiting your old department with unfinished projects or messy relationships will undercut […]

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 […]

13 Feb 2018

How to Look Beyond Your First Impressions of Employees

Some leaders believe they can size up employees and their work styles — even people who don’t report to them — based on how the employees look or seem. These leaders make assumptions along the lines of “This is how that person is,” as if there’s no hope for the employee ever to improve or change. We all make instinctive judgments, based on our past experiences. As leaders, though, we have two crucial responsibilities: We need to adjust our assumptions […]

30 Jan 2018

10 Reasons It’s Risky to Be Friends with Your Staff

Clients often ask me how to deal with tricky interpersonal relationships in the workplace. Two of the most challenging situations occur when a leader hires a friend or even the friend of a friend, or when a leader and a subordinate start a social relationship and then experience a professional or personal falling-out. Compensation and friendship are rarely a healthy combination. Financial and emotional commitments can get mixed up, and that doesn’t even take into account the effects of the […]

02 Jan 2018

When a Good Thing Triggers a Surprisingly Bad Response

This holiday season I gave a small gift to a local supplier as a token thank you. It was clear from her immediate reaction that she’s not used to receiving client gifts. She started out by protesting, “Oh you shouldn’t have done that!” Then she turned excessively grateful: “It was so wonderful of you to do this!” But suddenly she shifted into a negative mode about everything that was wrong with people and the way holidays are celebrated today: “No […]

28 Nov 2017

Have You Expressed Your Gratitude for Your Colleagues?

Most people like Thanksgiving for its relative lack of commercialism and its inclusivity. It’s all about food, friends, and family — an opportunity to be together in some semblance of comfort and caring. In many homes, the people gathered around the table talk about what they’re grateful for. Now that the leftovers are almost gone, and you’re back to work, you can extend the holiday’s good feelings into your work week. Maybe not the food. But if you haven’t ever […]

07 Nov 2017

How to Give Uncomfortable Personal Feedback, with Grace

Most people feel awkward raising personal issues with colleagues. That’s especially true when those issues concern the physical body, seem like an inherent expression of the person themselves, or are things we would feel mortified about if someone brought them up about us. Weird personal habits, physical issues, and behavioral quirks can be off-putting or disruptive to others, and create tricky, delicate situations that affect everything from teamwork to customer retention. Typically, the format for performance-based feedback relies on this […]

31 Oct 2017

How to Start Restoring Your Boss’s Faith, and Your Own

Most of us have made at least one big mistake at work, and had a hard time getting back on an even keel. But it doesn’t help to wallow in self-doubt. Luckily, there are usually ways we can pull ourselves out of the hole. A manager from a client company contacted me in distress last week: He had mishandled a personnel issue badly by conveying an inaccurate impression of a work situation to some subordinates. His boss had given him […]

 

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