Workplace Wisdom

16 Apr 2019

This Is What Happens When a Leadership Team Falls Out of Alignment

Misaligned leadership eventually disrupts teams and their work, putting employees at cross purposes, log-jamming initiatives, and making people at all levels feel stalemated or overwhelmed with negotiating daily details. Even misaligned leaders themselves can feel disconcerted and annoyed. It’s obvious that when people have to fight their way through their jobs every day, they’re not likely to have any energy or headspace for new ideas or improvements. So why do so many organizations tolerate this situation? Is Your Leadership Misaligned? […]

09 Apr 2019

How to Work for a Boss Who Has Unrealistic Expectations

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. Whether your manager is a front-line supervisor or the CEO, every leader occasionally has unrealistic expectations. But some bosses are unrealistic most of the time. They don’t take into account the facts on the ground, or they habitually refer to their past experiences at other companies rather than to the people and events in the current organization, or perhaps they report to someone who’s even more aggressive or overly optimistic than they are. When you […]

05 Mar 2019

What Should You Do When You Know a Project Is Bad?

Most projects and initiatives start out with carefully thought-out plans and a decent chance of success. But every once in a while, you get that sinking feeling that something is heading for a flop: not the kind of failure that comes from a reasonable experiment or despite a good effort, but one that results from misfires due to errors in analysis or lack of executional capability. Who has the responsibility to nix a bad project or debunk an unrealistic forecast? […]

19 Feb 2019
4 Things Your Leaders Should Know by Now

4 Things Your Leaders Should Know by Now

For some of my clients, I meet with midlevel directors and managers or frontline supervisors and team leaders to assess what their concerns are, and what support they need to be successful. Way more often than you’d think — or maybe not — the employees tell me about processes that don’t work, turf battles, and other kinds of customer and employee problems. And much, much too often, when I ask if their senior leaders are aware of these conflicts or […]

22 Jan 2019
How to Make Your Team Feel Safe Bringing You Problems

How to Make Your Team Feel Safe Bringing You Problems

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com Plenty of leaders say they offer an “open door policy” to encourage employees to bring them problems or concerns. Many of these leaders also ask that employees voicing concerns come prepared with solutions in order to take responsibility for the problem rather than just “dump” or “vent.” But employees in those scenarios may get the idea that it’s unacceptable to raise problems in the business if they don’t know how to fix them. In […]

15 Jan 2019
Why You Need to Stop Relying on Your Strengths

Why You Need to Stop Relying on Your Strengths

The other day, I gave a leader feedback about how to develop one of his team members, prepared for a coaching session with a different executive, and sat in on a leadership team meeting with a third. These three interactions, with three very different people, sounded a recurring theme: When we rely too much on our historical strengths and patterns, we sometimes avoid the new work we need to do and wind up impeding our continuing success. Even good, solid […]

02 Jan 2019
What Would It Mean to Be an Activist at Work?

What Would It Mean to Be an Activist at Work?

Sometimes things happen at work that seem just plain wrong. Most of us stand by, hoping conditions will get better. But all too often, they don’t, and we continue waiting, meanwhile becoming more and more worried or disengaged. When we see something going wrong or not working well, it can be hard to know what to do. Is it appropriate to say something? And if so, who should we tell? You don’t need to suffer in silence. If your boss […]

06 Nov 2018

How to Raise a Problem and Not Hurt Work Relationships

Maybe you’ve heard this saying: “The world is divided into people who know they are right.” That’s the entire saying — and you can see why! Whether it’s a kneejerk reaction, or a data-gathering process that’s heavily subject to confirmation bias, most of us have a hard time questioning our belief that what we assume happened must be what actually happened. So when something goes wrong in the workplace, how can you avoid confronting the other person as if it’s […]

23 Oct 2018

The Problem with Using “I Statements” at Work

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. It has become common advice for businesspeople to use “I statements” — such as, “I feel frustrated that you missed the budget deadline twice” — as a way to raise challenging conversations without causing colleagues to feel blamed or under attack. Indeed, I statements may be helpful during situations in which you have a close personal relationship to a colleague who cares about your well-being, or when you want to show that a particular […]

26 Sep 2018

How to Get Your New Boss Up to Speed for Mutual Success

When a new leader comes into your organization, many aspects of the relationship are effectively outside your control. You may have little-to-no input into specifying job requirements, screening for style or experience, or figuring out how the job now varies from what your old boss was doing. Nor can you control what senior leadership wants from the new executive. But you still have crucial perspectives on how to get the work done and how to function smoothly in your organization. […]

 

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