Workplace Wisdom

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 […]

25 Jul 2017

What Happens When Leaders Divide to Conquer

Working with teams or leaders in conflict is a crucial part of many of my assignments — even when it was not included in the original scope of work. Sometimes these disagreements arise because individual team members or colleagues instigate dissension or turmoil. Historical norms and structural changes can also trigger or perpetuate interpersonal or interdepartmental problems. But surprisingly frequently, conflicts arise from a lack of alignment around goals and responsibilities caused by a leadership structure called “hub-and-spoke.” The term […]

03 Jan 2017

Workplace Wisdom’s Most Popular Posts of 2016

One very practical way to move forward is to review past successes and expand on them. So I checked to see which Workplace Wisdom blog posts attracted the most attention in 2016 to learn which topics would be most useful to readers and worth revisiting from a variety of angles in 2017. The Three Top Picks 7 Surprisingly Simple Secrets to Managing Millennials This post covered some of the challenges that senior execs perceive when working with Millennials. It’s tough […]

24 May 2016

Leading from the Middle of an Indifferent Leadership Team

A newly hired VP called me the other day, expressing frustration with her indecisive and apathetic colleagues. My unspoken response was: “They’re not even strong enough to be a Team of Rivals.” When a leadership group appears weak, confused, or in disarray, employees at all levels lose their drive and their heart. That’s a recipe for stasis and failure throughout the business. The VP’s question: How could she encourage her peers to come together and take steps to move the […]

17 May 2016

If You’re Not Wandering, You May Be Lost

When it comes to what’s going on in his business, one of my favorite CEOs has the humility to say, “I don’t know what I don’t know.” He wisely acknowledges what many C-suite leaders don’t: If he only knows what his subordinates present to him, then he doesn’t know enough. So this CEO makes good use of a sophisticated technique called managing by wandering around (aka MBWA). Get Yourself a Roaming Plan Tom Peters, the consultant’s consultant, frequently stresses the […]

03 May 2016

Has Business Fallen into the Gender Gap?

Over the next 10 years, if we were to focus on the financial benefits of achieving gender equality and made the necessary changes in hiring, career growth, and compensation, we could end up “adding an economy the size of Texas to the U.S.” That’s what Kweilin Ellingrud, a McKinsey Global Institute partner and the author of a new study, “The Power of Parity: Advancing Women’s Equality in the United States,” recently told Bloomberg TV. The point is not that we […]

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 […]

13 Oct 2015

The Pros and Cons of Urgency

Urgency in the workplace has crucial uses — and some destructive misuses. Yes, urgency may be exactly what’s needed to confront an actual emergency, serious risk, or persistent negative circumstance. But too many managers and senior leaders respond to urgency by putting up a Teflon shield, as if to say, “It’s not my problem, and I won’t let it affect me.” It’s possible that the team leader truly doesn’t care, or that he’s actually unaware of what’s happening, or even […]

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 […]

15 Sep 2015

4 Surefire Tactics for Increasing Accountability

Do you worry that a lack of accountability is swamping your organization with overall ineffectiveness and bad feeling? Regardless of your rank or role, here are four ways to build a floodwall against further inefficiency and confusion. 1. Avoid These Typical Accountability Pitfalls. To ensure that everyone’s activities are aligned and aimed in the right direction, spell out the link between required activities and the mission. Focus discussions on the purposes behind the commitments you’re requesting, rather than on who’s […]

 

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