Workplace Wisdom

12 Jan 2016

How to Survive Working with a Prima Donna

Have you paid the price when a melodramatic, self-aggrandizing team member has hurt your organization by spreading unnecessary chaos and discontent? “Artistes” like this have never learned how to share top billing, glory, or status and they’re rarely aware of how they aggravate their colleagues. Some people operate at this level of intensity to ensure they get the attention they believe they deserve. Instead of contributing to group esprit and collaboration, their primary focus is on themselves and how events […]

08 Dec 2015

Have You Ever Worked with Anyone Like Donald Trump?

Trump. The very name encapsulates his behaviors: to outdo, undermine, outmaneuver, and win. The word isn’t exactly synonymous with teamwork, collaboration, or shared success. Not surprisingly, it’s tough working with someone who has Trump’s aggressiveness and arrogance, even when that person is relatively low down in the hierarchy. Can You Hear the Brass? When a Trump-type person is on point, he’s fabulous: sharp, engaged, hardworking, competent, and cocky; the combo gives him a veneer of super-effectiveness. But he’s been the […]

10 Nov 2015

How a Little Humility Helps New Leaders Fit In

Most new hires at senior levels come in full of ideas, gumption, and, perhaps, a tacit assumption that things must not have been going perfectly before they were hired. They arrive believing they are going to make a significant difference for the business and bring it the success it hasn’t yet achieved. But even if all those assumptions were true, the new person doesn’t automatically get a halo upon arrival, and success rarely follows immediately. So if you’re the new […]

29 Sep 2015

How to Talk — and Listen — to Yourself

Self-improvement can seem like too much work if you don’t feel strong enough or you’re not quite sure you’re worth the investment. People in Western cultures often find it difficult to be kind to themselves. Sure, we’re pretty skilled at self-indulgence, such as applying ice cream or scotch, going on buying sprees, or just letting ourselves off the hook when we don’t want to be responsible. But letting ourselves be irresponsible doesn’t work. What we need is a loving firmness […]

01 Sep 2015

10 Ways to Keep Your Team Motivated

You can’t directly motivate anyone, but you can definitely create conditions in which people choose to contribute, participate, innovate, and push themselves. Demonstrating your own commitment helps set the bar for the team — not just because you tell them something’s important, or you exhort them to care about it, but because they can observe by your actions the energy and effort you apply to that commitment yourself. Move These “Levers” to Shift Your Team If you want to guide […]

18 Aug 2015

Don’t Make the Mess Your Manager Made

Everybody’s had at least one boss they didn’t trust and desperately wanted to escape. But you probably learned invaluable lessons from that boss about how people should and shouldn’t be treated. You might even have promised yourself what you’d NEVER do when you someday had people reporting to you. Check In With Yourself Now that you’re in charge, you are you still guided by those commitments? Or are you doing unto others things that you vowed never to repeat? Thoughtful […]

04 Aug 2015

When to Stop Trying So Hard

Some executives are too hard on themselves. They anticipate failure or disaster when all they’re really facing is the relentless, ongoing effort that’s necessary for leadership and management success. They let fear and anxiety take up headspace and sap their energies, when what they really need to do is apply their intensity to thoughtful decision-making and focused thinking. Instead of Getting Down on Yourself Here’s an illustration: Recently I had an extensive back-and-forth via phone and email with a nonprofit […]

16 Jun 2015

Four Ways Colleagues Drive Each Other Nuts

You see your colleagues every day, or at least several times a week. You all get along, appreciate each other’s good intentions, and care about the company. And yet, some of your colleagues’ behaviors drive you absolutely nuts. Here are some common types of challenging behaviors, and a few suggestions for thinking about these crazy-making colleagues. Colleagues who point out everything you could — or should — have done better: They may be highly imperfect themselves, but they’re aces at […]

09 Jun 2015

This Is Why Good Leaders Want You to Call Home

Some time ago, James Altucher posted a piece on LinkedIn about bad leaders that I loved. The part I loved the most was his sixth point, relayed here exactly as he put it: “BAD LEADERS DON’T WANT YOU TO CALL YOUR MOTHER “Every day, the people following a good leader should be able to call their parents and say, ‘I’m so happy. You won’t believe what I did/ learned/ met today.’” What a wonderful characterization! Imagine, having something happen every […]

26 May 2015

What You Need to Know If You Work with Overly Urgent Employees

It’s aggravating and distracting to work with a passive-aggressive colleague, but it can be just as frustrating to work with someone who’s too active, too intense, and yet has too little to show for it. Some employees are so zealous that they just have to get things closed, handled, resolved, and OFF THEIR DESKS. They tend to oversimplify because they can’t tolerate having decisions hanging open or problems unresolved. They don’t wait until the necessary data is available, or coordinate […]


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