During conflict, it’s typical to move into a “flight or fight response.” Our brain is ‘hijacked’ by our amygdala, seat of fear and anxiety, and we may lose access to rational thinking. Our face may redden and our speech quicken — and because of “mirror neurons” the person to whom we are speaking may become agitated as well. However, writing in the Harvard Business Review, Amy Gallo, author of The HBR Guide to Dealing with Conflict, says, “It’s possible to interrupt this physical response, manage your emotions, and clear the way for a productive discussion.”
Here are some tips for calming yourself down once you’ve gotten worked up:
How did you handle the last conversation you had when you were “worked up” and what do you wish you might have done differently? To join the conversation, click "comments" above (just below the picture). We would really like to hear your feedback.
Remote workforces present unique challenges. So leaders must be more intentional than ever in promoting engagement and the productivity that increases as a result.
Managing a fully remote company, Lou Elliott-Cysewski, co-founder and CEO of Coolperx, a net climate-neutral merchandising company, shares the lessons she has learned in Inc.:
What has been your greatest challenge in working remotely, and how has your leadership addressed it? To join the conversation, click "comments" above (just below the picture). We would really like to hear your feedback!
As we navigate the Great Resignation, the need for empathic leaders has come center stage. People are unwilling to work for managers prone to autocracy, micromanaging, and narcissism — and they will resign in an effort to find a more welcoming culture.
It is crucial to recognize, however, that the drive for results and the practice of empathy are not mutually exclusive. Writing in Inc., Phillip Kane, CEO and Managing Partner of Grace Ocean business consultants, contends that effective leaders understand that results matter. But they also realize that results are heightened with kindness.
Such leaders recognize and reward the contributions of others, prize the mental and emotional well-being of those who work for them, and know better than to destroy trust over something like a missed objective.
Kane concludes, “If you've believed, like many have, that delivering results and caring for others is an either/or proposition, change your thinking, and then change those you entrust to lead your team. Choose caring, empathic leaders. They are, for good reason, all the rage right now.”
To what extent do leaders in your organization display empathy, and what is the effect? To join the conversation, click "comments" above (just below the photo). We’d really like to hear about your experience and get your feedback!
As employee turnover continues to rise, employers are striving to discern what workers really want. Of course benefits are important, but they are far from the whole picture.
Writing in Inc., Marcel Schwantes, founder and Chief Human Officer of Leadership from the Core contends that “good leadership takes skill, heart, head, hands, and a willingness to serve others.” He offers 3 actions leaders can take to ensure people stay longer:
Is your organization doing what it should to help employees continue to develop and build on their strengths? To join the conversation, click "comments" above (just below the photo). We're really like to about your experiences with attracting & retaining employees!
If you want to hire the right kind of employees and keep them motivated, an extensive new study from Bain may prove helpful. The project’s authors spent a year surveying 20,000 workers in 10 countries (the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, and Nigeria) as well as conducting in-depth interviews with more than 100 employees.
As recounted in Inc., the study concluded that there are six work-orientation archetypes, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Problems can arise when employers are seeking one type but hire another. The archetypes are:
Do you recognize yourself, or any of your employees, in any of these archetypes? Does your organization skew toward one type in particular or is there a balance? To join the conversation, click "comments" above (just below the picture). We'd really like to hear your feedback and experiences!
Is it acceptable to let go of the pressure to participate in back-and-forth work-related conversations? Cal Newport, computer science professor and author of A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload, suggests practicing messaging “triage.”
In a recent paper, researchers concluded that constantly attending to emails, texts, Slack messages, and Zoom requests can lead to cognitive overload that “may result in ineffective information processing, confusion, loss of control, psychological stress — or even an increase of depressive symptoms.” When we practice triage, we make practical real-time decisions about which messages warrant an instantaneous response, which we need to think about before answering, and which aren’t really worth our attention.
Triaging may feel uncomfortable at first, but you can start small by cutting back on reply pleasantries like “thanks for the update” and “hope you are well”…which might be considered communication clutter. As Newport argues, “In the context of digital communication, the sender often prefers avoiding the receipt of additional messages when possible.”
If you don’t reply immediately to a message during your downtime or vacation or even when you are just preoccupied or exhausted, Erica Dhawan, author of Digital Body Language, says, “Don’t apologize. Just reply when you can. Or don’t.” Still feel uncomfortable? Daniel Post Senning of the Emily Post Institute, which offers etiquette advice, says, “You have to be a civil and decent person, but you don’t have to give your time and attention to everyone who asks for it.”
Do you ever choose to ignore work-related messages and what are your criteria for doing so? Have there been repercussions? To join the conversation, click "comments" above (just below the picture). We’d love to hear your feedback!
Extraordinary teams excel at fostering relatedness among members. New research cited in The Harvard Business Review suggests such teams have found subtle ways of leveraging social connections during the pandemic. Doing so requires creating opportunities for genuine, authentic relationships to develop.
Based on his organization’s research, Ron Friedman, Ph.D, psychologist, author, and founder of ignite80, a performance development company, presents five key characteristics of high-performing teams that highlight the vital role of close connection among colleagues. Successful teams:
How has your team been fostering connections during this period of hybrid work? To join the conversation, click "comments" above (just below the picture). We'd really love to hear from you!
If you’ve been swearing more in the past year or so — even at work — you’re not alone. The corporate and financial research platform Sentieo recently combed through a database of around 9,000 conference call transcripts looking for expletives. They found 166 transcripts that contained them from 2021. That's a significant jump from previous years. Just 104 transcripts contained profanity in 2020, 112 in 2019, and 92 in 2018. So swearing at work appears to be up.
Frustration with the pandemic and a work-from-home informality may both be factors in the rise of swearing. Our question: Is cutting loose with language always a bad thing? Experts quoted in Inc. say “not necessarily.”
Michael Adams, author of In Praise of Profanity, argues that swearing has many useful social functions including “bringing us together.” There’s an intimacy to profanity precisely because it is somewhat taboo. "Bad words," Adams writes, "are unexpectedly useful in fostering human relations because they carry risk.... We like to get away with things and sometimes we do so with like-minded people." Adams believes that swearing can also help us appear slightly more vulnerable and more authentic — both useful qualities in relationship building.
No one is suggesting you begin your next Zoom meeting by imitating a drunken pirate. But for those who are savvy enough to navigate delicate situations, an occasional swear word, science attests, may have genuine utility.
Have you ever uttered swear words at work, and how do you feel when co-workers do so? To join the conversation, click "comments" above just below the picture — we'd love to hear your thoughts!
Poet Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Writing in Inc., Marcel Schwantes, founder and Chief Human Officer of Leadership From the Core, notes that this is very true of leaders. The great ones, he says, take care of their team in ways that makes everyone feel inspired and understood.
"The journey toward leadership greatness never ends,” says Schwantes, “but it does have a starting point. And sometimes the beginning of the journey requires some tough questions you need to ask yourself to raise your own bar." Can you answer yes to most — and hopefully all — of these?
Were you able to answer “yes” to most of these questions? Which ones might you work on? To join the conversation, click "comments" above, just below the picture. We'd love to hear your feedback!
Jeff Zucker’s departure from CNN a couple weeks ago, has stirred up talk about office romance. Writing in The New York Times, Joanne Lipman, author of That’s What She Said: What Men and Women Need to Know About Working Together, and Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor at the Yale School of Management, say the situation “points out how difficult it is to regulate office romance and how unevenly corporate policies around consensual relationships are enforced.”
When it comes to trying to manage this issue “the rules are all over the place” and “enforcement is inconsistent.” A 2021 survey for the Society for Human Resource Management found that more than a third of Americans have or have had a workplace relationship, and the majority did not disclose it to their managers.
There is no consensus in corporate America about what is considered acceptable. Most companies do not allow relationships between a supervisor and a direct report, “but that is just a baseline for a reasonable policy.” A 2019 Vault.com survey found that 41 percent of employees aren’t even sure what their company’s position on workplace romance is, and so don’t report an office relationship for fear of being penalized. What’s more, the beginning of any relationship can be tenuous. If employees aren’t even ready to tell their friends about it, can they be expected to know when to tell their supervisors? Is one date or one flirtatious email exchange the threshold?
Companies owe their employees clarity, contend Lipman and Sonnenfeld. “Organizations need to specify what constitutes a relationship, to whom and when to report it, and in what circumstances it requires an adjustment in position for one or both people.” What's more, the rules need to apply to everyone.
Office romances have existed for as long as offices have been around. It's time to figure out how to deal with them.
Do you know your organization’s policy on office relationships, and do you think it is clear and reasonable? To join the conversation, click "comments" just below the picture above. We'd love to hear your feedback!
New research from Gloat, a workforce agility and talent marketplace platform, confirms that nearly half (48.1 percent) of employees are thinking of leaving their current jobs, highlighting the internal labor crisis many employers are encountering. Gloat's study revealed two big reasons for the current exodus, which should surprise no one: Better pay and a desire for more growth opportunities.
Writing in Inc., Marcel Schwantes, founder and Chief Human Officer of Leadership From the Core, notes that while offering every employee their desired salary is most likely not an option, leaders have considerable room to create growth opportunities that align with employees' personal and professional goals. To this end, they should:
What is your organization doing to create more internal opportunities and better communication about company values? To join the conversation, click "comments" above this article, just under the photo. We'd really like to hear from you!
We all have talents that can give us an edge, but the biggest reason some people are high performers is because they’ve formed good habits. In a recent survey of more than 1,800 workers by leadership training company VitalSmarts, 46% of respondents chalk up their career success to having the right habits, as opposed to those who credited natural talents or even wise decisions.
“When it comes to success, nothing trumps good habits,” says Emily Gregory, VitalSmarts lead researcher and vice president of development. “No amount of luck, talent, brains, or good decisions can compensate for your habits and your routines."
Writing in Fast Company, Stephanie Vozza cites several habits Gregory found that could help you move ahead:
What do you consider your most beneficial work habits? To join the conversation, click "comments" just under the picture above -- we'd love to get your feedback!
Relationships with our co-workers are important, but instead of characterizing them as “good” or “bad”, we should acknowledge that they are always shifting. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Professor Kerry Roberts Gibson of Babson College and Professor Beth Shinoff of Boston College discuss how to use “micromoves” to build the work relationships you want, instead of settling for those you have.
Micromoves are “small actions or behaviors that seem inconsequential in the moment but affect how we relate to one another.” They are like the steps that constitute a dance, and each step can change its direction. A positive microwave (like saying thank you or supporting a colleague’s comment at a meeting) can have a resonating beneficial impact, while a negative one (neglecting an email or excluding one colleague in a group lunch) has the opposite impact. The following principles can help you make positive micromoves:
Can you think of a positive or negative micromove you may have made lately, and the results of each? To join the conversation, click "comments" just under the photo above. We'd really like to get your feedback!
Leadership requires setting direction and then influencing people to follow. And moving a group of people collectively in any direction is difficult—especially since you are ultimately accountable for the way your team and organization perform.
Because you have to account to your boss, your customers, and your team, it’s critical to own up when things go wrong (as, inevitably, they sometimes will). Writing in Inc. , tech columnist Jason Ater says the five words that signal extraordinary leadership are:
“I’m sorry. I was wrong.”
Although apologizing can feel excruciating, it will be less so if you give yourself permission to be wrong, says Ater. That doesn’t mean you should strive to be wrong. It does mean purging “the visceral reaction inside your soul that recoils at the idea of being wrong …”
Sometimes the words you say may come out a little different, but despite exact content, the intent of your heartfelt apology should be the same: "I'm really sorry, I didn't handle that well," or "I'm sorry, I really dropped the ball on that."
Usually, there are other words that need to follow, like what you plan to do to make right whatever you were wrong about. But notice what words are not in there--namely an excuse, explanation, or reason for your mistake. A high-impact apology should be pure.
Do you agree that admitting mistakes is an important leadership skill, and can you offer an example? To join the conversation, click "comments" above, just below the photo. We'd really like to get your feedback!
Superstar employees, those who function at the highest level of productivity, are invaluable assets. And many companies go to great lengths to recruit and retain them. But, according to a Harvard Business School study, there is something even more critical: Avoiding and weeding out toxic employees.
The study quantifies its findings by noting that each superstar employee — defined as a "top 1 percent" worker — will save the average company $5,303. Yet avoiding a toxic employee -- defined as one that “engages in harmful behaviors to an organization, its property, or people" -- will save the average company $12,489. That figure doesn't even include "savings from sidestepping litigation, regulatory penalties, or decreased productivity as a result of low morale."
Overt underperformers may be easy to spot, but truly toxic ones may appear to do satisfactory work while actually slowly destroying the performance, attitude, and morale of other employees. According to the study, as reported in Inc. there are three key predictors of such insidious employees:
The bottom line: “Be thorough, thoughtful, and deliberate when you make hiring decisions. Be even more thorough, thoughtful, and deliberate about dealing with toxic employees.”
Is your organization vigilant about avoiding toxic employees? To join the conversation, click "comments" above, located just below the photo. We'd really like your feedback!