Social skills correlate with career success, and lacking them can hold you back. The good news, according to Fast Company columnist Judith Humphrey, founder of the Humphrey Group leadership communication firm, is that you certainly can improve your interpersonal skill set, once you know what to focus on.
Here are her five concrete indicators that someone is socially adept:
How do you ascertain whether or not a colleague is socially skilled? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Hybrid work is here to stay, and leaders will face challenges as they manage a workforce that is part in-person and part remote. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, management consultants Kalle Heikkinen, William Kerr, Mika Malin, and Panu Routila, offer advice based on interviews with 38 executives in Nordic countries. (Nordic leadership teams are used to operating in complex settings with employees spanning multiple nationalities, languages, and locations.)
What do you view as the biggest obstacle to seamless hybrid working, and what will you do to address it? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Anxious about returning to the office? Join the club. After over a year of remote work, many of us are feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of returning to live work and seeing co-workers on-site rather than on-screen.
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Alice Boyes, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of The Anxiety Toolkit, says the idea of getting back to the office might feel surprisingly difficult. Transitions often tend to spike our anxiety; we typically feel anxious about resuming anything we’ve avoided, even if that “avoidance” was externally imposed. Additionally, in the post-pandemic world, personal relationships and boundaries may have shifted. For example, you may be concerned about who is or isn’t vaccinated and who does or doesn’t observe health and safety protocols.
Boyes suggests that we all “be intentional about retaining the best parts of WFH (work from home) and office-life.” Working from home was a vast experiment, and it probably taught you a lot about what helps or harms your productivity. It likely also taught you a great deal about how you communicate most effectively. Holding on to any beneficial habits might prove to be a challenge when your environment changes—but being conscious of them is a first step. Beyond that, she adds, “You’ll need to establish these habits almost from day one, as if they were completely new habits. This is because habits need consistent cues, and the cues you had at home will likely no longer be present, at least not in the same way.”
What concerns do you have about returning to the office, and how are you preparing for this transition? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
A recent Workhuman survey of more than 3,000 U.S. workers reveals a workforce in trouble. The data show 48 percent of employees agree they've experienced burnout, 61 percent feel elevated stress levels, and 32 percent agree that they have felt lonely at work.
Writing in Inc., Marcel Schwartes, founder and Chief Human Officer of Leadership From the Core, says that to ease the toll of the crisis, leaders will need a more human-centered approach to management. In order to increase a sense of psychological safety and encourage cooperation and collaboration:
What are you doing to lessen employee stress in your workplace? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
When employers first tried to motivate employees, their approach was almost entirely based on incentive pay: paying for piecemeal output so employees would work faster and produce more. But in our modern economy and workplace, motivation is far more complex. In a post in TED’s “How To Be A Better Human” series David Burkus, PhD., associate professor of management at Oral Roberts University and author of Under New Management, outlines three drivers of motivation according to self-determination theory (a theory of behavior that addresses people's inherent growth tendencies and innate psychological needs).
Employees feel more engaged and satisfied with their jobs when they believe their company supports their own career and life ambitions.
No matter one’s job, industry, or career, we all benefit from finding a personal sense of meaning in what we do. And good managers help their employees to find their inner purpose. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Kristi Hedges, a senior leadership coach and author of The Inspiration Code suggests regular check-ins that use five areas of inquiry to help employees identify and explore their inner purpose:
How did you discover your own inner purpose, and what do you do to help others find meaning at work? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Videoconferencing might not be your favorite way to relate to others. But, even post-pandemic, it looks like Zooming will be here to stay. So, we might as well do everything we can to make it enjoyable and valuable.
Writing in Inc., contributing editor Bill Murphy Jr. offered some suggestions for phrases that increase your likeability in a videoconference setting:
Use these phrases often and they will become a habit. Until then, as a memory aid, Murphy suggests writing them on Post-It notes and pasting those around the perimeter of your computer screen.
Do you have any favorite phrases you use to facilitate Zoom calls? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
“We look for three things when we hire people. We look for intelligence, we look for initiative or energy, and we look for integrity. And if they don't have the latter, the first two will kill you, because if you're going to get someone without integrity, you want them lazy and dumb.” — Warren Buffet
Investment icon Warren Buffet largely attributes his success to hiring the right people. And integrity is the one trait he values above all others. But, hiring managers “must dig hard in the interview process to get the answers they need to feel confident someone has the non-negotiable trait of integrity,” says executive coach Marcel Schwantes, writing in Inc.. Here are some suggested questions he proposes to get to the core of a person’s character:
How do you evaluate whether a potential hire has integrity? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Many companies have employee recognition programs of some kind, but often they become just another box for managers to check. Instead of showing appreciation in a meaningful way, they are rote acknowledgements (e.g. a gift card for a work anniversary) disconnected from employees’ accomplishments.
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Kerry Roberts Gibson, Kate O’Leary, and Joseph R. Weintraub, all of Babson College, revealed the results of a project in which they engaged with employees and managers through focus groups, survey questions, and learning sessions. According to employees, here’s what managers need to do more often:
“The best part of appreciation is that it’s free and doesn’t consume a lot of time,” say the authors. “Anyone at any level can offer appreciation. It can be directed toward an employee, a colleague, or a boss. But when leaders get involved in the effort, a culture of appreciation spreads more quickly.”
When was the last time you expressed appreciation at work, and how did you do it? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Most of us have been in meetings that have gotten tense—maybe even gone off the rails. We've seen dueling monologues, hidden agendas and, sometimes, pure pandemonium as participants compete for attention and struggle for validation. But, according to Joseph Grenny, bestselling author and co-founder of VitalSmarts corporate training, “It can be surprisingly easy to bring order to a chaotic meeting — and to turn conflict back into conversation — if you know how.”
Grenny offers four steps for getting a derailed meeting back on track:
How did you handle the last tense meeting you were in? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Even before the pandemic, job skills were evolving. Gartner Data found that the number of skills required for a single job was increasing by 10% per year. But what skills are most needed now, as many of us transition back from fully remote mode to what is likely to be some hybrid workplace?
Writing in Fast Company, Gwen Moran, creator of the website Bloom Anywhere, specifies essential skills that experts say employees will need:
Have you honed any of your skills over the past year, and which ones do you still need to work on? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Values are core beliefs that affect our behavior and worldview. We tend to choose friends with similar values, but at work it can be more complicated. Writing in Fast Company, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzik, PhD and Becky Frankiewicz, both leaders at Manpower Group, say, ”If you want to live in an inclusive world that harnesses the power of psychological diversity, then you have to learn to accept, tolerate, and perhaps even embrace those who don’t share your values.”
Wondering how? The authors offer these tips:
Do you have co-workers who have values divergent from yours? How do you dialogue? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
There is no shortage of management experts telling us that leaders need to show
their vulnerability, being open and honest about who they are and how they feel.
But there is a limit to this advice, writes Jessica Stillman, in Fast Company. “Even just a little time in the business world is enough to reveal that over-sharing personal struggles can get you labeled unprofessional, and being too open with your worries just breeds useless fear.”
So how do you walk the line between being forthcoming and genuine, but not
burdening others with your problems or fears? Researcher, author, therapist and
TED speaker Brené Brown offered a succinct answer while speaking with Adam
Grant on the Worklife podcast: "Vulnerability minus boundaries is not
It’s constructive to share your own struggles to make others feel safer sharing theirs. It’s unhealthy if you want to unburden yourself and dump your worries and concerns on others. She suggests that before you decide to open up at work, you ask yourself if you are sharing your emotions and experiences to move your work, connections, or relationships forward? Or are you over-sharing by working your private stuff out with an audience? If the latter, stop talking.
Make sure professional sharing is always aimed at constructive goals and you'll walk the line between authenticity and self-absorption. Have you ever encountered an over-sharer at work, and how did you handle the situation? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
An influential study on management and leadership was conducted by Amy Edmondson, who researched hospital charge nurses. Edmondson found that high performance teams and well-respected nurse leaders reported more errors because the team felt psychologically safe to do so. On the teams led by less respected leaders, nurses hid their error rates out of fear. David Burkus, associate professor of leadership and innovation at Oral Roberts University and author of Under New Management, offers these strategies for ensuring that team members experience psychological safety.
Do you believe the people on your team feel safe? What have you done to help to contribute to psychological safety on your team? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
There is no such thing as overcommunication, argue Adam Bryant, managing director of Merryck & Co. and Kevin Sharer, former president, CEO, and chairman of Amgen. They describe overcommunication as a “key leadership lesson” in their new book, The CEO Test, an excerpt of which appears in Fast Company.
Across hundreds of interviews with CEOs, one of the most consistent themes the authors heard is a “growing recognition that they must make an extra effort to close the gap between how much they think they need to communicate and what their employees want and need from them.” The more people you are addressing the simpler and shorter your message needs to be.
Although saying the same thing over and over can seem tedious to the one saying it, don't stop! It’s important to feed people’s desire to know…not just their need. If leaders aren’t sharing much, then employees will supply their own narrative.
“Leaders must be prepared to be teased for endlessly repeating the strategy,” the authors advise. “If your employees roll their eyes and say what you’re going to say before you open your mouth, consider that a victory because they have internalized the message.”
Is there a message that you repeatedly share with employees? Are there messages you could be sharing more often? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.