Workplace Wisdom

19 Mar 2019

How to Get a New Employee Off on the Right Foot

“What do I need to do to make sure James gets off to a good start?” my client asked. Leaders talk a lot about setting people up for success, but most onboarding seems to focus on documentation for HR files, occasionally on formal task training and only rarely on “how things work here.” Employees who aren’t part of a large training group are often left to figure things out on their own. That’s why I’m always happy when a manager […]

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? […]

26 Feb 2019

How to Respond When Employees Ignore Feedback

Don’t you get frustrated when you’ve told an employee a hundred times what you need them to do, or how they’re supposed to behave, yet it makes no difference? Or even worse, when the person tells you they understand, or says the magic words, “I’ll try to do better,” but nothing changes? The reason nothing is changing could be because you’re not taking a decisive, accurately targeted approach. First, consider that there’s a significant difference between dealing with someone who […]

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 […]

05 Feb 2019

Surprising Reasons To Switch From Video-Conference To The Phone

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com The conventional wisdom is that when team members can’t be in a single location, video-conferencing is the next best thing to the face-to-face meeting. Virtual meetings are downright necessities for creating relationships among geographically separated employees who need to function like an integrated team. After all, we want to see the person who’s speaking, and we interpret their body language, gestures and facial expressions as part of recognizing who’s who and to understand the […]

29 Jan 2019

Yes, You Need to Address the Problem of Employees’ Mental Health

If you work with at least five people, there is a high likelihood that one of them is suffering from some form of mental illness, according to data from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). And yet we usually treat mental illness like a secret personal issue, the way people used to whisper about cancer or divorce. But this is a business issue. As a reader from Guatemala wrote to me, “Nobody is planning on this, but we get […]

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 […]

13 Nov 2018

Why You Need to Stop Referring to Women at Work as “Lovely”

Thanks to the #MeToo movement, we all know not to tell colleagues that they look “hot.” But language that isn’t overtly sexual can also cause problems. Even a seemingly innocuous word like “lovely” can be used in a gendered way that has surprisingly bad outcomes for productivity and effectiveness. Here’s a real-life illustration of why avoiding “lovely” matters, and some suggestions for what to say instead. The Lowdown on “Loveliness” At a leadership conference I attended recently, I bristled a […]

14 Aug 2018

How to Handle Colleagues Who Respond to the Leader and Ignore You

Have you ever worked with someone who seemed like a heat-seeking missile when it came to power, authority, and status? Whether they’re frontline service reps or senior vice presidents, these individuals turn toward their bosses the way flowers turn toward the sun — cultivating that relationship over all others, always trying to derive some tangible benefit from their personal connection with the leader. Leaders can get attached to these employees because they’re usually very reliable within their particular sphere of […]

31 Oct 2017

How to Start Restoring Your Boss’s Faith, and Your Own

Most of us have made at least one big mistake at work, and had a hard time getting back on an even keel. But it doesn’t help to wallow in self-doubt. Luckily, there are usually ways we can pull ourselves out of the hole. A manager from a client company contacted me in distress last week: He had mishandled a personnel issue badly by conveying an inaccurate impression of a work situation to some subordinates. His boss had given him […]

 

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