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!
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!
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!
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!
Ranjay Gulati is a Harvard Business School professor, a consultant, and a parent of two children. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, he contends that the challenges parents face at work and home are not that different, and that “both contexts leave leaders struggling between their desire to control others and their need to let go.” Strong leadership is about threading that needle.
Research psychologist Diana Baumrind observed that parents often behave in ways that are either authoritarian (exerting too much control), permissive (giving children too much autonomy), or negligent. An option better suited to parenting (and to managing, says Gulati) is the authoritative approach, which strikes a middle ground between control and autonomy.
To become a more authoritative leader, Gulati suggests taking two basic steps. First, communicate a clear, durable framework of guidelines consisting of both positive ("thou shalt") and negative ("thou shalt not") statements. Second, reinforce the framework and hold people accountable.
As Gulati’s research with innovative organizations has shown, allowing employees to exercise autonomy within clear guardrails can yield favorable results. Citing companies with such approaches, such as Netflix and Alaska Airlines, the author notes that, “maintaining the tension between control and autonomy isn't easy, and you might find yourself veering too far at times in one direction or the other. But with a solid, well-articulated framework in place, you'll be able to correct for excesses and stay more or less in the middle zone over time. At home and at work, a blend of control and autonomy is usually the winning formula.”
What lessons from your parenting life do you think are applicable to the workplace? To join the conversation, click "comments" just above the photo. We'd really like to hear from you!
Empathy has always been a critical skill for leaders, but it is taking on a new level of meaning and priority as new research demonstrates its importance for everything from innovation to retention. Writing in Forbes, Tracy Brower PhD, author of The Secrets to Happiness at Work, says that empathy is the most important leadership competency to develop and demonstrate.
Leaders will be most successful not just when they consider others, but when they inquire directly about employee challenges, and then listen to and paraphrase what they hear. The results? According to a new study by Catalyst these can include:
A few years ago, Justin Bariso, author of EQ Applied, learned a valuable life lesson from comedian Craig Ferguson, who said he’d learned it after three marriages.
Writing in Inc., Bariso recounted the three questions Ferguson said you should ask yourself before speaking:
This doesn’t mean you should never speak your mind, but to be mindful when you do. Another good question to ask yourself is, “Will I regret not saying this?”
Do you have a stopgap technique you use to keep yourself from blurting? 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.
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.