Workplace Wisdom

27 Aug 2013

This is How Connected Leaders Ensure Progress

Let’s say your team feels deeply connected to you, and all team members are committed to the same things you’re committed to. Your team feels comfortable enough with you to express any disagreement they have with the organization’s stated policies or work processes, and also directly with you and your opinions. They have confidence you count on them to let you know when they think something’s wrong, or when they can see something that you don’t see. They trust that […]

03 Apr 2013

How to Help Colleagues Regulate Out-of-Control Emotions

No matter how important it is to take everyone’s feelings into account, it’s still not reasonable to expect tears, shouts, or clenched jaws in the workplace every day. Excessive or poorly directed emotions get in the way of the work. So now that you’ve had some more practice coping with your own emotions, you can take another look at the emotions of the people around you, think about ways to recognize their feelings, and work with that information as well. […]

25 Mar 2013

How to Manage Your Own Emotional Data on the Job

Emotions in the workplace: You may not like them, but they’re there, all right, and you can’t just wish them away. “Feelings and emotions” reminds me of those “ring around the collar” ads for Wisk back in the ’70s: “You’ve tried soaking them out and scrubbing them out, and still you get” feelings and emotions, feelings and emotions! They’re messy, and can become permanent if you don’t deal with them skillfully. And yet emotions can give you truly pertinent, useful […]

19 Mar 2013

How to Use the Data of Emotions in the Workplace

Anyone who says feelings have no place in the workday might as well say that breathing has no place in the workday. A human without either one is a corpse. The ability to use emotions as data — as triggers for assessment, opportunities for creating better teamwork, and levers for cultural change — is necessary and valid in today’s workplace. People are awash with emotion all day long. They bring their feelings with them and experience even more of them […]

05 Mar 2013

Are You a Creative? Or a Critic?

It’s so much easier to critique what you can see than it is to conceptualize something that doesn’t exist yet. Michelangelo said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” He knew how to scrape away stone to find the perfection of form he could already see within it. Most of us know how to polish and fix up, but we’re often liable to ding a shoulder here […]

22 Jan 2013

Simple Ways to Reduce Reactivity and Lead More Effectively

If you suspect you’re an excessively reactive manager, you may wonder how to slow things down to help yourself work more effectively and not disrupt your team so much. And you may worry how you can feel good about slowing things down, and not as if your feet are stuck in glue and your stick-in-the-mud colleagues are holding you back. Remember that the possibility for change lies in your behavior, not your personality. Your drive accomplishes a lot: It gets […]

08 Jan 2013

Can You See How Much You’ve Accomplished?

New Year’s resolutions often don’t work (see How to Keep a New Year’s Resolution Any Time of Year) because we get a little distracted, lose focus, lack persistence, or slack off. Sometimes we let events or other people’s needs get in the way.

01 Jan 2013

How to Keep a New Year’s Resolution Any Time of Year

Numerous studies — and most people’s personal experiences — show that New Year’s resolutions generally don’t pan out. They’re typically broken within a few weeks and forgotten by March. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t change, or that you shouldn’t attempt real, heartfelt self-improvement now — or anytime at all. Each day you can choose to do something that will get you at least a little bit closer to where you want to be by the end of the […]

28 Aug 2012

4 Aspects of Managing Your Fight-or-Flight Response

The body’s fight-or-flight reactions are a good guide to our true perceptions of a confrontation’s level of safety or danger. Learning to check and manage our physical reactions is essential to both our effectiveness and professionalism. If we can keep ourselves in neutral, respectful gear — confronting, but not attacking — both the positions we take and the comments we make at the negotiating table will be more compelling. Most of our nonverbal cues — our body language, gestures, and […]

10 Apr 2012

To Make Change Successful, Focus on Talk and Trust

Change is often seen as creative and necessary. It can be invigorating, in the sense of a fresh start. But change is also almost irrepressibly hard. When we first try to give up a personal habit on our own, most of us backslide terribly. When change is imposed from the outside, we resist. And when one person in a group changes, everyone else may have trouble adapting. Change tests our ideas about ourselves, others, how the world works, and what’s […]


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