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!
A number of research studies show that being honest makes people happier. In fact, research from the University of Notre Dame found that when people consciously stopped telling lies for 10 weeks (including white lies), they had fewer physical ailments like headaches, and fewer symptoms of depression than a control group.
But is honesty at work always the best policy? Writing in the Jobacle blog, career advisor Amy Lynn Munslow identifies the three best – and potentially trickiest – times to be fully honest on the job.
Essential times to be honest:
Times to be careful with honesty:
Are you always honest at work, and if not when are the exceptions? To join the conversation, click "comments" just below the picture at the beginning of this article. We really want to get your feedback!
So many people are quitting their jobs that the phenomenon has been dubbed the Great Resignation. The situation is so severe, that some employers have seen up to 30 percent attrition in top categories. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Frank Breitling and Julia Dhar of Boston Consulting, drawing on extensive surveys and interviews, suggest six strategies employers can implement to boost retention during this tumultuous time:
Is your organization being impacted by the Great Resignation, and what is being done to address this? To join the conversation, click "comments" just below the photo at the beginning of this article. We really look forward to your feedback!
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that during the months of April, May, and June 2021, 11.5 million workers quit their jobs. The Great Resignation is real. And it’s ongoing. According to Gallup research, 48 percent of employees are actively looking to make a change. How should employers react to those two small but impactful words: “I quit”?
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Debbie Cohen and Kate Roeske-Zummer, co-founders of HumanityWorks, point out that the employees who stay will be watching how you deal with those who go. What outcome do you want to create out of this disruption?
“In far too many companies when an employee gives notice the reaction is akin to an emotional breakup — you’ve been left and you feel rejected. This triggers some not great behavior like a tendency to make the person leaving ‘wrong’ and doubt the person’s trustworthiness or integrity — even though that was not the case before they gave notice. There is a penchant to dismiss their presence and devalue their contribution.”
Instead, the authors suggest approaching these transitions by showing gratitude. The era of lifelong employment is over and, with rare exceptions, employees are with your organization as a stop on their career journey. They’ve contributed and, hopefully, learned new things. They’re not the same person they were when they were hired (and the same goes for you and for the organization). “What would it be like to pause when a resignation occurs and give voice to these things from both sides of the relationship?” they ask. What would be created if you acknowledge how both sides have grown and evolved?
Besides, the talent pool is tight, and careers are long. End this phase of your time together with appreciation, and who knows what the future will bring—perhaps even re-recruitment down the road.
How has your organization been responding when employees announce they are leaving, and could there be an improvement? To join the conversation, click "comments" just below the picture for this article. We want to hear from you!
Let's face it: The last year has been disruptive for many, and universal stressors may have taken tolls on your relationships. We cannot always change circumstances, but we can change our responses. Instead of navigating through important moments of communication on automatic pilot, reacting from emotion rather than intention, we can transform our relationships by being proactive with positive communication. As we approach 2022, consider making a resolution to practice 12 months of healthy communication.
As communication researchers and partners in work and marriage for decades, we’ve experienced both the joy and challenge of personal and business communication and have found some simple steps to resolve conflict and build trust in relationships:
Here’s wishing you a happy, healthy, communicative 2022!
Do you have a New Year’s resolution that involves communication? To join the conversation, click "comments" located just below the photo for this article. We'd love to hear 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!
Research on resilience —our ability to bounce back from adversity — has shown that giving support to others has a significant impact on our well-being. Our bodies and minds benefit in a variety of ways when we help others, sometimes even generating a “helper’s high”.
In fact, the act of giving advice has been shown to be even more beneficial than receiving it. In a series of studies of 2,274 people, researchers found that after middle-school students gave younger students help with studying, they ended up spending more time on their own homework. Overweight people who counseled others on weight loss were more motivated to lose weight themselves.
In a New York Times article, Wharton organizational psychologist Adam Grant explained that we often are better at giving advice to people other than ourselves. “One of the best things you can do is call someone else facing a similar problem and talk them through it,” he said. Grant, who co-founded an online networking platform call Givitas, which connects people asking for or offering support and advice, added, “When you talk other people through their problems, you come up with wiser perspectives and solutions for yourself.”
When was the last time you gave advice, and how did it make you feel? Did it benefit you, or the receiver, or both? To join the conversation, click "comments" just above this article, under the photo. We'd love to hear your thoughts!
Conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion are actually just conversations about people. And storytelling, one of the most universal human experiences, gives us a chance to look through new lenses and gain new perspectives from co-workers who may have had different life experiences. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, inclusion consultants Selena Rezvani and Stacey A. Gordon offer steps to implement a story-based approach to DEI.
In this approach, employees are encouraged to tell and own their stories, and consider how they impact their experiences at work. For those who are unsure how to unearth their own diversity stories, the authors offer some possible prompts:
As the authors say: “In our attempts to create more awake and aware environments, we’re forgetting that numbers typically don’t inspire us to change our behavior — people and stories do.”
How might storytelling based on DEI benefit your organization? Do you have a story you would care to share? To join the conversation, click "comments" above this article, just under the photo.
All day, every day, we are faced with decisions, from what to wear to whether to pursue a new job. Even deliberating in the toothpaste aisle at the drugstore can feel overwhelming. The pandemic added even more choices to our daily routine, as we pondered safety concerns and time allocation when work and school came into our homes. Faced with too many options, we can become anxious or even paralyzed. This is “decision fatigue” -- a state of mental overload that can impede our ability to make additional choices.
When decision fatigue kicks in, you may feel you just don’t have the bandwidth to deal with more decisions. This can lead to depleted self-control, causing you to avoid making certain choices entirely, to go with the default option, or to make choices that don’t align with your values.
In a series of experiments, researchers asked people to choose from an array of consumer goods or college course options or to simply think about the same options without making choices. The choice-makers experienced reduced self-control, less physical stamina, greater procrastination and lower performance on tasks; the choice-contemplators didn’t experience these depletions.
We can't entirely eliminate decision fatigue, but experts say the following can help cope with an over-abundance of choices:
How do you cope with the feeling of having too many choices? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.