In a commencement address at Stanford, Google CEO Sundar Pichai spoke four words that encapsulate years of research on the psychology of human motivation: "Reward effort, not outcome.”
Pichai is tapping into the power of creating sources of intrinsic motivation: People are moved to do something because they enjoy it, love the challenge, or find it intriguing…not to gain a reward or avoid punishment. This strategy he says, works well not just with your employees but also with your kids. Although it might seem counterintuitive, science backs up this approach. Here’s why:
When was the last time someone celebrated your effort regardless of outcome, and how did you respond? To join the conversation, click "comments" above. We would love to about your experience!
As any manager who has tried it can tell you, onboarding new employees remotely is a challenge. And a bad onboarding experience can have long-lasting negative fallout. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, James M. Citrin and Darleen DeRosa, co-authors of Leading From a Distance: Practical Lessons for Virtual Success, offer recommendations for companies large and small who want to make onboarding strategies succeed.
You don't need to be on a dating app to be ghosted, a sudden and unexplained ending of all communication. Increasingly, people report being ghosted by potential employers during job searches (sometimes even after they’ve gotten a verbal offer), by clients they were pitching, and by people with whom they were networking.
Why do people ghost? It's often to avoid an awkward situation or anything that might lead to conflict. But it could simply be because there is no news to share, or because they are maxed out by their own work.
Why not just let it go? It turns out we’re not biologically wired for that. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Kristi DePaul, founder of Nuanced, a thought leadership firm for executives, says, “Ghosting is an action that tugs at our psyches. When something is unresolved, our brains tend to linger on it (a phenomenon called the Zeigarnik effect). This underlying cognitive tension encourages us to continue seeking a satisfactory resolution.”
So, what to do? DePaul suggests being patient for a few days (they might genuinely be preoccupied). Then, if silence persists, consider that the person doing the ghosting might now feel there is no way to bring the conversation back online gracefully. You can offer them a way to save face by sending “a brief, lighthearted message [that leaves] the door open for them to reconnect, or to simply let you know what’s going on.”
Have you ever been ghosted at work, and what happened if you attempted to follow up? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
As the pandemic lingers and economic insecurity looms, stress and uncertainly are pervasive in the workforce. Since uncertain environments make people more likely to engage in uncivil, and disrespectful communication—rudeness is on the rise, and so are its repercussions
According to Shannon G. Taylor and Lauren R. Locklear, writing in the Sloan Management Review, “Employees who experience incivility at work perform worse in their jobs, are less helpful to colleagues, and are more likely to steal from their employer. Rudeness also hurts employee retention and the bottom line. According to one estimate, handling a single incident of rudeness can cost an organization more than $25,000.” So what should managers be doing to keep rudeness from begetting more rudeness in a vicious cycle?
Brent Gleeson, a Forbes contributor, first learned about effective leadership in chaotic environments as a Navy SEAL. “Many, if not all, of those basic principles apply in business and life in general,” he says. Among the most widely applicable lessons he cites:
They know the difference between “activity” and “results”: SEAL teams say, “find work.” If you find yourself at the end of your To Do list, that’s not when your contribution to the team ends. Make a new list of priorities and execute -- not busy work, but activities that align with team goals.
In most organizations, compensation is not made public, but what if you stumble on information that alerts you that a peer is making more than you in a similar position? Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Rebecca Knight, a senior correspondent at Insider and former Wesleyan University lecturer, suggests what to do — and not do — in this situation.
As for the don’ts: Don't be rash or rude. Don't mention your higher-paid coworker by name (focus on you). And don't stay in a job any longer than you must if your company refuses to pay you market value for your role.
Have you ever had to address a salary discrepancy? How did the situation resolve? To join the conversation, click "comments" above. We would love to get your feedback.
Are some of your employees about to hand in their notice? Timothy M. Gardner, management professor at Utah State, and Peter W. Horn, management professor at Arizona State, identified numerous “pre-quitting behaviors“ that are often tip-offs that a resignation could be in the offing in the next 12 months.
Just like poker players exhibit various “tells” that reflect the strength of their hands, workplace “tells” can signal future turnover. Through detailed questionnaires administered to managers, the authors distilled the most common pre-quitting behaviors.
“Typically,” say the authors, “organizations handle a turnover problem with large scale interventions to improve departmental or firm-level commitment, job satisfaction, and job engagement. These strategies may work, but they take time to design and implement. Thinking in terms of the turnover risk of specific employees allows you to invest your time and resources in those employees who create the most value and are actually at risk of leaving.” One technique is to use what are called “stay interviews.” Instead of conducting only exit interviews to learn what caused good employees to quit, hold regular one-on-one interviews with current high-performing employees to learn what keeps them and what could be changed to keep them from straying.
Are any of your employees exhibiting signs of quitting, and what action might you take to get them to reconsider? To join the conversation, click "comments" above. We would love to get your feedback and hear about your experiences!
Listening to your employees and incorporating their feedback is important to you and to the culture of your organization. But sending out an employee survey once a year is not sufficient, says Carrie McKeegan, CEO and Cofounder of Greenback Expat Tax Services -- especially among remote teams who find it harder to build relationships. Collecting feedback on an ongoing basis will allow you to address roadblocks head-on, encourage creativity and collaboration, and drive innovation. Here are things you can do:
Romantic partnerships can be challenging in the best of times. And two years of pandemic togetherness have not made things easier for some. Writing in The New York Times, in an adaptation of that paper’s “Seven Day Love Challenge”, Tara Parker-Pope points out that even the strongest relationship can use an occasional tune-up. Among the strategies she suggests is practicing gratitude together.
“Write down three things about your partner for which you feel grateful. Take a moment to read what you wrote about each other. Are you surprised about your partner’s feelings? Talk about these moments of gratitude and how they make you feel more connected to each other.”
Showing gratitude on a daily basis is a common mindfulness practice proven to boost happiness, help us get better sleep and even reduce illness. And gratitude exercises can not only make us feel closer to our romantic partners, but also to our friends and co-workers.
In general, people who express gratitude together are more satisfied in their relationships. So consider gratitude a “booster shot” for any relationship you want to keep healthy.
When was the last time you shared feelings of gratitude with your partner, co-worker or friend? To join the conversation, click "comments" above. We would love to hear your feedback!
Few of us like to admit it when we make a mistake. We’ve been trained since our childhood school years that only “correct answers” get rewarded. But two things are true: 1) Everyone makes mistakes, and 2) admitting to errors can actually be very beneficial.
Writing in Inc. , Ken Sterling, executive vice president of Bigspeak, contends that “admitting mistakes has the best rewards for you in the long term -- especially for your leadership style and building trust with those around you.” Great leaders, be they CEOs, elected officials, or even quarterbacks, take ownership of their errors and avoid blaming others. So, “If you want to become a better leader, it starts by being accountable…Ultimately, we are involved in creating, promoting, or allowing each situation we find ourselves in. When we realize this, it's quite empowering, actually. Otherwise, if it's not our fault, we're really saying we are victims.”
Leaders who refuse to be accountable create what Sterling calls a culture of fear. And fear leads to silence. People who are afraid of being blamed, don't want to speak up or contribute ideas. To do so would be equivalent to putting a target on their backs. What's more, failing to acknowledge mistakes pretty much ensures the mistakes will be repeated. Writes Sterling, “The key to learning -- be it martial arts, team sports, sales, or leadership -- is owning your errors. If you don't admit the mistake to yourself, then how can you ever improve on it?”
Owning one’s errors builds trust, and trust builds strong relationships. Research has repeatedly shown that employees want to trust their leaders and when that trust is there, leader honesty drives employees to be honest as well. “Candor is at the heart of good management and positive work culture. Imagine being a leader who can admit to personally messing up, and who sends the message that in this organization, you can mess up, too. It's liberating.”
When was the last time you admitted to a mistake, and how did that go? When did your boss last admit to a mistake? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Are you a good listener? When we pose this question to people in our learning events, most rate themselves as “above average” (a mathematical impossibility). When we ask what good listening consists of, the most common themes are: not interrupting, letting others know you are listening by using nonverbal encouragers (“uh-huh”, “mmm-hmm”) and paraphrasing, by repeating back what the other person has said.
However, new research, conducted by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman of the Zenger/Folkman Leadership Development Group, suggests that these behaviors fall far short of describing great listening skills.
Their four main findings:
Not every conversation requires the highest levels of listening, but many conversations would benefit from greater focus and from the intention to listen interactively.
As a listener have you engaged in any of these practices? What else has worked for you? To join the conversation, click "comments" above. We would love to hear your feedback.
A manager’s job and communication style must change as their team expands. Writing in The Harvard Business Review, Julia Zhuo, vice president of design at Facebook and author of The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks To You, explores some of the necessary adaptations.
Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin notes that people would come from far and wide to hear Abe Lincoln speak, even when he was simply a prairie lawyer. From his “stage” atop a tree stump, Lincoln “could simultaneously educate, entertain, and move his audiences,” she writes. Although times have changed, human nature has not, and Lincoln’s speaking techniques are as compelling as ever.
Writing In The Harvard Business Review, Harvard instructor and communication author Carmine Gallo credits Lincoln’s gift for storytelling as key to his ability to captivate audiences. She goes on to enumerate some key differences between mere “presenters” and compelling storytellers.
What might you do to add elements of great storytelling to your next presentation? To join the conversation, click "comments" above. We would love to hear from you.
Today’s world is primed for instant gratification. We often feel pressure to reply immediately to emails and texts, and even in conversation. We fear “dead air” and so hasten to say no something…anything...even when responding to a complex question.
However, numerous business leaders—notably Apple’s Tim Cook and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos—are known for taking a pause in conversation in order to carefully consider what they will say next. Justin Bariso, author of EQ Applied, writing in Inc., notes that while those on the receiving end of 10, 20, even 30 seconds of silence may feel uncomfortable at first, their reward is a thoughtfully considered answer…the result of critical thinking that would be impossible without taking time.
According to Bariso, embracing “awkward silence” allows us to:
When was the last time you allowed a buffer of silence before addressing a complicated topic—and how do you feel when others do so? To join the conversation, click "comments" above. We would love to hear from you!