Workplace Wisdom

05 May 2015

Do You Work with Someone Who Rolls Over and Plays Dead?

You may think you have a clear agreement with a colleague about concepts, details or both, but then nothing happens. They seem fully on board in meetings and public settings, but when it’s time to take action, they won’t pull the trigger, and they may stop showing up or showing up or ghost you altogether. It’s awful to work with someone who’s passive-aggressive. These folks won’t overtly clue you in that there’s a problem. In fact, they can be so […]

14 Apr 2015

Maintaining Momentum While the Rules Are Changing

I heard recently from a high-potential middle manager who’s struggling with a raft of organizational changes including modifications of sales policies, comp plans, and various other crucial aspects of work life. He expressed tremendous frustration with the latest round of changes, which had come on the heels of other policy revisions. He resented the necessary meetings, updates, and shifts in perspective — and particularly having to explain the “new” new policies to employees who had already experienced sweeping organizational change […]

07 Apr 2015

Leaders Need to Be Where Their People Need Them

Where do you lead from? Is it from the front, issuing commands and carrying a flag? From the back, perhaps with just a nod and barely a whisper? Or do you lead from somewhere in the middle, relying on all kinds of declarations and hand signals? Here’s the real deal: Despite your own personal preferences or tendencies, there is no correct, fixed place for leadership. It depends on the specifics of the present situation and the people involved. There’s a […]

03 Mar 2015

8 Things to Do to Be a Better Leader, Part 1

A number of readers have written to ask how they can make real progress in those areas of leadership where they don’t feel strong enough, particularly if they don’t have personal access to a consultant, coach, or even a dedicated buddy who can help them in concrete ways. Of course their specific questions and needs were all different. So for general consumption, here’s a way to focus your thinking about how you can set priorities for your own self-development as […]

03 Feb 2015

Four Markers of the Safe and Trusted Leader

When employees are not shut down or demotivated by fear, they’re able to absorb input and recommendations, learn and grow, and stretch to meet larger goals and aims. How can leaders create safety and trusting environments? Typically, safety starts when leaders demonstrate competence, openness, candor, and vision. Don’t for a minute think these are “soft” skills, as they’re so commonly called. These skills are actually quite challenging, and they advance the accomplishment of rigorous business goals. Safety is not a […]

18 Nov 2014

How to Emphasize Praise for Feedback Success

Last week’s post, This Is the Truth About Workplace Feedback, discussed the significance of having a generally positive relationship with an employee before asking the employee to take in and apply critical feedback. A positive relationship isn’t necessary because it’s nicer. And it’s not because everyone should get a trophy. It’s just practical: All employees are human, and all humans make mistakes. And the vast majority of humans have trouble taking in criticism. In fact, according to communication experts, if you […]

30 Sep 2014

How to Keep Culture Strong Even in the Face of Change

How can you maintain your organization’s cultural norms in the face of new demands, like the pressure of market forces or your own internally generated growth? What if you need to be more nimble, flexible, or responsive to meet the nature and volume of market demand? And what if you can no longer rely on old products or old methods — even though they were successful for you in the past? As a business changes, how does the leader — […]

02 Sep 2014

Why You Need to Tell Your Employees the Real Story

“They never tell us anything. We’re always the last to know.” So many employees feel this way so much of the time. They see something that they don’t understand, something that doesn’t fit with what they already believe to be true — and they feel left out. Worse, they feel a combination of stupid/lost/neglected/resentful/hopeless. No one wants to feel that way — certainly not when it comes to their job, and especially not when it comes to their livelihood. So […]

12 Aug 2014

How to Reach Agreement with 3 Powerful Elements of Team Decision-Making

Some work teams have trouble bringing matters to an actual decision. They’re often unaware of how their own inconsistent processes reduce their chances of coming to agreements that everyone can live with. You can make the process much smoother by ensuring that several crucial elements are present. Unfortunately, however, one or more of these essentials can be forgotten in the team’s eagerness to come to a conclusion. Know Your People and Your Culture All too often, the participants in decision-making […]

15 Jul 2014

How to Cope When Difficult Colleagues Won’t Cooperate

It’s frustrating to try to get through your own work or to help your team make progress when you can’t get your colleagues to cooperate. Last week’s post covered some of the reasons that you might be hesitant to address this lack of support directly. Whether you prefer to avoid conflict and confrontation or you’re worried about being perceived negatively by peers or management, here are three ways to reassure yourself that you’re doing the right thing: Make the commitment […]


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