Workplace Wisdom

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 […]

12 Jun 2018

7 Signs You May Need to Leave Your Original Team Members Behind

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. As your business grows, so do its needs for talent and skill. But, over time, your business’s needs may outpace the skills of your founding and core employees, and your very success can become a barrier to scaling and continuing success. The needs of every growing business will vary, but after working with privately held and family-owned businesses for 30 years, I’ve seen certain patterns come up again and again. If your employees aren’t also […]

29 May 2018

5 Things to Do If Someone You Just Promoted Messes Up

No matter how high our hopes are for a newly promoted manager, things often go remarkably wrong. Sometimes it’s the new manager’s attitude or belief. For instance, I’ve worked with a previously responsible employee who viewed his promotion as justification to stop handling details, because they’re for “lower-level people.” Another newly promoted employee saw her promotion as validation of her work and herself as she was, and decided she no longer needed to learn new skills. Promotions can also bring […]

22 May 2018

How to Work with Ambitious Employees When There’s No Growth Opportunity

When you’re lucky enough to employ someone who has the capacity to do superior work and then grow past the job, but you haven’t got an appropriate outlet for them, it can be a challenge to keep them in the company, let alone within your work group. One of my clients got in touch recently to discuss what to do about two very different team members who’ve told him they are interested in growing beyond their current roles. Case 1: […]

01 May 2018

Why You Need to Stop Covering for Your B+ Employees

When you inherit incumbent staff members, you almost never get all grade-A players. But if you wind up with too many people who are stuck at B+ or lower, it can be tough to achieve all the results you’re responsible for. I’m currently working with a leader who’s been reassigned — at a higher level — back to her old group. She reviewed her team members’ strengths and weaknesses with me, and identified who needed which kinds of development. Several […]

03 Apr 2018

How to Use Stretch Goals to Increase Innovation

Have you ever been asked to define your own stretch goals? They’re still remarkably popular, despite a steady stream of articles and research that debunks the value of this approach altogether. It’s not so much the concept that falls to the ground, but rather its execution: Leaders require too much stretch, while providing too little support for advancing the goals themselves. How Stretch Goals Fall Short In the typically ineffective use of stretch goals, managers ask employees to hit unrealistic […]

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 […]

05 Dec 2017

How to Get the Most from Your Exit Interviews

Are you doing thoughtful exit interviews with all levels of departing employees? The exit interview is one of few concrete opportunities to learn what makes someone comfortable to work in your organization — or not — and to glean information you can use to improve management, leadership, process, and structure. In many ways, an exit interview is the last service an employee can choose to do for an organization — it’s a gift of both time and candor. Businesses can […]

14 Nov 2017

How to Get the Best from Millennials: Don’t Make Them a Monolith

At a luncheon for women business owners a few weeks ago, several people at my table complained about the Millennials on their staffs: They don’t follow directions or only do exactly what we tell them, and they don’t take the work seriously. These business leaders practically egged each other on: Millennials are sullen; they don’t communicate; and, when facing big project deadlines, never go the extra mile. Getting to Know Your Millennials After a few minutes, I interrupted the game […]

24 Oct 2017

8 Ways to Prevent Participation and Innovation

Employees can be such a headache, especially the proactive ones! They’re always asking questions, wanting things to be either some new way or the way they used to be, or else they’re making suggestions and proposals — as if there was a better way than your way. How’s a senior person supposed to get any work done and have a decent day when the team always needs so much attention? But don’t worry, you can nip all that proactivity in […]

 

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