What turns individual contributors into effective new managers? Google spent years finding out by analyzing over 10,000 manager impressions including performance reviews, surveys, and nominations for top-manager awards and recognition. The following are six key attributes that Google instills in its managers:
Google reported a statistically significant improvement in 75 percent of its underperforming managers after implementing the program.
What do you think is the most challenging part of transitioning to a management role? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Darwin said the fittest survive, but what kind of fitness counts most? Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods, researchers at Duke University’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, believe species that have thrived and successfully reproduced haven’t done it by beating up the competition.
Their new book, “Survival of the Friendliest: Understanding Our Origins and Rediscovering Our Common Humanity,” posits that species endure — humans, other animals and plants — based on friendliness, partnership and communication.
“Dogs are exhibit A,” Hare says. “They are the extremely friendly descendants of wolves. They were attracted to humans and became friendly to humans, and changed their behavior, appearance and developmental makeup. Sadly, their close relative, the wolf, is threatened and endangered in the few places where they live, whereas there are hundreds of millions of dogs…”
The authors also point to the success of bonobos, apes that are often confused with chimpanzees. Chimps make war, but bonobos are natural sharers. “The most successful bonobo males have more offspring than the most successful alpha male chimpanzees.”
What does all this mean for us? For humans to continue to evolve successfully, Hare says, “friendliness is the winning strategy. Social problems require social solutions. The secret to our species’ success is the same as it is with dogs and bonobos. We are the friendliest human species that ever evolved, which has allowed us to outcompete other human species that are now extinct. When that mechanism is turned off, we can become unbelievably cruel. When it is turned on, it allows us to win. We win by cooperation and teamwork. Our uniquely human skills for cooperative communication can be used to solve the hardest social problems.”
Can you recall a time when friendliness helped you get ahead? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Caught up in a vicious cycle that starts with frustration, leads to stress, and winds up causing workplace wars? This can engender more frustration, until the whole syndrome starts over. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Annie McKee, a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and the director of the PennCLO Executive Doctoral Program, offers a three-step process for interrupting such vicious cycles):
“Developing self-awareness, increasing your emotional self-control, and recharging relationships at work takes commitment,” says McKee. To lay the foundation, build mindfulness practices into your daily life, schedule time for self-reflection, and tap into empathy that allows you to see the world through others’ eyes.
Have you found that taking more responsibility for your own feelings and actions can help reduce frustration, stress, and conflict? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
We all like to think we’d speak up if we saw something objectionable happening at our workplace—perhaps something ethically questionable or some evidence of discrimination. In fact, research suggests that most people tend not to act, and rationalize their inaction.
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Heidi Grant, Associate Director of Columbia University’s Motivation Science Center and author of Nine Things Successful People Do Differently, offers suggestions for those who do want to be diligent employees and lend their voice to the conversation:
If you have spoken up at work, what were the results? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Holding audience attention during a presentation is always a challenge, and more so if you are giving it via Zoom. In a virtual setting, you cannot employ or read body language as much as you would in person, and your attendees might well be distracted by other things in their environment (kids, pets, beeping microwaves).
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Carmine Gallo, instructor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and author of Five Stars: The Communication Secrets to Get From Good to Great, offers tips for sharpening your presentation skills:
At a time when clear written communication is more important than ever, many of us may have temporarily lost our in-house editors—those co-workers we drop in on when we want a quick assessment of our first drafts. Learning to edit our own writing is a skill that will serve us well now and in the future.
Writing in The New York Times prolific freelance journalist Harry Guinness offers practical advice for DIY editors:
These days, anxiety is pretty widespread—and it’s tempting to want to soothe a co-worker or friend who is experiencing a high level of stress. But, as you may have noticed, telling an anxiety-ridden person to “calm: down” can backfire. A new study suggests that the most effective way to calm someone down is simply to reflect and validate their feelings.
To figure this out, researchers tested out a variety of approaches to comforting 325 married participants who volunteered to think about a fight with their partners and report on how various attempts by a friend to cheer them up made them feel.
Some of the approaches were "low person-centered,” meaning messages that minimized the person's distress or suggested they shouldn't feel so upset. Others were "high person-centered," i.e. they validated the person's stress, saying things like "you have every right to feel upset" or "it's understandable you are stressed out." The more empathic approaches were the clear winners.
The bottom line: Minimizing people’s emotions can come off as controlling and condescending. As columnist Jessica Stillman writes in Inc., “If you're genuinely interested in making someone feel a little better when they're understandably stressed out, give up on cheering them up. You mean well but they'll probably just feel like you're trying to push them around. A far better bet, science shows, is simply listening with empathy.”
When you’re feeling stressed and anxious, what kinds of interventions do you find helpful or less than helpful? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
“The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.” So says Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup. Unfortunately, the majority of training in today’s companies is ineffective. Although organizations across the globe spend hundreds of billions on training annually, surveys show 75% of managers are dissatisfied with their companies’ learning and development, and only 12% of employees apply newly learned skills to their jobs.
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Steve Glaveski, CEO of the startup accelerator Collective Campus and host of the “Future Squared” podcast, points out the biological reality that we quickly forget most of what we learn if we don't use it. To get around the “forgetting curve”, we need to implement “lean learning”:
Can you remember a training situation where you remembered much of what you learned, and could apply it? What made that learning stick? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
If you’re a leader who encourages people to speak up and contribute ideas, you may assume no one will remain silent when they have an idea you haven’t thought of, or spot a problem you haven’t noticed. That assumption seems reasonable, but research suggests that people are motivated to speak up only if they believe their contribution will have an impact on the organization, and that they will not be punished for their comment. By contrast, people fail to signal a problem or idea to the boss when they think there will be negative repercussions for doing so—like getting shunned or fired.
Writing in the Harvard Business Review Michael Parke, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at London Business School, offers strategies for managing both the “voice” and “silence” aspects of employee contributions.
To solicit voice:
To manage silence:
Governments and public health pronouncements aside, businesses can only reopen when their employees feel safe returning to work. In a recent survey of 735 U.S. employers conducted by the global human resources consulting firm Mercer, more than 45 percent said they are already struggling with workers who are reluctant to return to their workplaces because of fear of getting sick.
In a recent Inc. article, Peter Newell, a former Army colonel who spent years on wartime frontlines tackling ill-defined challenges in risky situations and who now runs the consulting firm BMNT, offers advice for navigating this unprecedented dilemma:
If your team is considering returning to the workplace, what are the greatest concerns and how are you addressing them? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Managers and leaders have a direct effect on their employees’ stress levels, but too few leaders are aware of this power. Even well-meaning managers may unwittingly stoke anxiety.
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, professor of business psychology at Columbia University and an associate at Harvard’s Entrepreneurial Finance Lab, points out five behaviors that can increase people’s anxiety levels. Leaders who can spot these behaviors can start to change them.
Learn more about creating a habit around masterful communication with our online learning programs .
We’ve all been guilty. Ten minutes after logging in to a Zoom meeting our mind begins to wander. Our attention turns to our in-box, our curious dog, or what time dinner is coming out of the oven. Chalk it up to the Ringelmann Effect. When French architectural engineer Max Ringelmann asked a team of people to pull on a rope, and then asked individuals — separately — to pull on the same rope, he noticed that when people worked as individuals, they put in more effort. The bigger the group, the less responsibility each individual feels. In virtual meetings—especially large ones—the Ringelmann effect is magnified.
So, the success of virtual meetings depends on listener participation. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Sarah Gershman, professor at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University and president of Green Room Speakers, offers tips for staying focused:
How did you handle the situation the last time your attention wandered during a virtual meeting? Any tips to share? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
“I don't think we should ever shake hands ever again...”
-- Dr. Anthony Fauci
No more handshakes? Stephen Colbert calls it, “bad news for secret societies,” and Jimmy Fallon notes, “[It] will be weird when every job interview starts with an awkward chest bump.” So, what might be appropriate greetings in the hygiene-conscious, post-handshake era?
As per the Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders debate, many are now employing new etiquette in the form of an elbow bump. But there are several alternatives to this gentle arm nudge. Fist bumps have been around for some time, though, they too, involve skin-skin contact. Some have suggested non-contact foot-shakes. Perhaps the most practical and aesthetically pleasing is Asian-influenced “Namaste” hand gesture, which is contact-free and strikes a humble, respectful tone.
For a time, it will surely be hard to battle the deep-rooted instinct to extend a hand. (Tweet it!) German Prime Minister Angela Merkel was left hanging after her interior minister denied her outstretched hand. And the Dutch prime minister announced a no-handshake rule, then turned and shook a health officials’ hand—promptly apologizing. It is fairly certain that salutations will involve a new normal—but what it will be is unclear.
What would be your preference for a handshake replacement? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Among the challenges of working from home is creating boundaries between work time and personal time. To keep the lines from blurring, Elizabeth Grace Saunders, time management coach and author of How To Invest Your Time Like Money, offers these tips:
What strategies do you use to keep yourself more focused and present whether you’re working or enjoying personal time? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
If you would like to learn more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our online learning programs.
How can you hold teams together when members are physically separated? How can you create virtual teams that are more engaged and more productive than when they worked together?
In our recent Webinar, Communication in a Time of Social Distancing: Strengthening Virtual Teams, we shared 8 research-based strategies:
What have been your biggest challenges in communicating with your virtual team and how are you managing them? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.