Workplace Wisdom

16 Aug 2016

Advice on How to Make a Case to Senior Leaders

I just heard from a middle manager who vented about her senior leaders’ lack of response after she made them aware of certain problems. She wondered if there were better ways to explain challenging circumstances or to present unwelcome information. First we discussed some of the possible reasons that her managers might actually disagree with her, their various alternative perspectives, and whether she isn’t privy to other information that they’re using to decide what is — or isn’t — important. […]

10 May 2016

How to Connect the “Triple-A Way”

“I love your prints!” I said to the two brightly attired women who were exiting the lobby of my office building just ahead of me. “You look wonderful together!” They were startled — and delighted! I could hear them chattering to each other as I walked away: “Wasn’t that nice! Well, we do look good!” Although they hadn’t seemed to be feeling particularly positive when I first saw them, now they were smiling and nodding to each other, looking as […]

26 Apr 2016

Which Kind of Helper Would You Rather Be?

One day last week, in New York City for meetings, I was waiting in line at a subway MetroCard machine, and noticed that the woman behind me was practically vibrating with anger and frustration. Technically, she was just trying to help. Or at least that’s what she may have thought, in some part of her mind. But in the real world, she was waving her arms and shouting a stream of invective at the people at the head of the […]

19 Apr 2016

A Special Guide to Getting Your Message Out

Whether you’re a corporate exec, a midlevel manager, or an independent striver — and whether you want to start a success or grow one — you need to be able to meet the market. Figuring out how to interest and influence others, particularly when it requires or invites significant change, can be intimidating. When you’re walking a challenging path, it’s good to have a guide. A guide can be a person or a handbook, and you can get both from […]

29 Mar 2016

Failure: Is it a Winning or Losing Strategy?

Failure isn’t always preventable. Sometimes truly disastrous things happen. But failing isn’t always the end of the world. For some people, it’s the start of success. Traditionally, failure had a moral cast. If you failed, you were perceived as irresponsible, as if you should or could have known better. But according to “The Art of Failing Upward“, an opinion piece in the New York Times, “In the start-up world, failure is in,” particularly when certain entrepreneurs are treated as cool […]

09 Feb 2016

How Much Clutter Is Okay?

Earlier this month, I had a funny correspondence with a favorite client. He claimed to have returned from vacation “to a clean desk with a relatively clear mind.” I gave him full credit for his clear mind, but I teased him about the clean desk because he’s often in the middle of several projects at once, and his desk is usually piled with documents and publications. In reply, he sent me a photo of what really was a pretty bare […]

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 […]

06 Oct 2015

How to Close the Credibility Gap

How do you demonstrate credibility with your team members, colleagues, and boss so that they’ll have confidence in you? The biggest chunk of credibility is keeping your commitments. It’s not enough to appear — or to be — eager or compliant. You have to deliver: on time, and on spec or better. “We’ll See,” “Let Me Think About It,” and Other Falsehoods If you’re unaware of your “tells” — those automatic, unconscious behaviors that demonstrate something you’re otherwise trying to […]

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 […]

 

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