positive habits
Leadership

Positive habits: a new approach

A number of clients seeking my guidance on becoming better workers, better managers, or better planners inevitably ask about how to develop positive habits... and stick with them. When I ask what they've done to date in developing new positive habits, and why they believe they've failed to maintain them, two themes arise: The achievers… Continue reading Positive habits: a new approach

age gap millennial managers
Leadership

Big age gaps between managers and direct reports

Many leadership articles discuss how to communicate with and effectively manage the millennials. But what about managing an age gap in the other direction? How should millennial managers supervise someone older - maybe much older? There can be a decades-wide spread between a manager and a direct report. Awkward, uncomfortable, even upsetting? Most of the… Continue reading Big age gaps between managers and direct reports

Leadership

The learning cycle at work

I had a few clients who were expressing sentiments such as: "I'm not feeling like myself," or, "I'm just not how I used to be on the job," or, "I'm not really feeling it anymore, and I don't know why." They attribute these feelings to no longer being challenged at work, or having no growth… Continue reading The learning cycle at work

how to be assertive
Leadership

Rethinking how to be assertive

How to be assertive is one of those topics that I've always found to be a little funny. Assertive in what way? Assertive according to whom? If you've ever received the constructive criticism or professional feedback to be more assertive or to be less assertive, and you're struggling with this feedback, I've got some great… Continue reading Rethinking how to be assertive

implementation issue
Leadership

Avoid an implementation issue that ruins a great strategy

Just one critical implementation issue will ruin the most beautiful, perfect strategy. I'd like to talk about those types of implementation issues. In my mind, there are only three: insufficient buy-in from people; failure to achieve brilliant execution; and lack of a pivot when new information points to the strategy being wrong. Even if you… Continue reading Avoid an implementation issue that ruins a great strategy

customer service
Leadership

Customer service secrets

The bottom line in any service interaction and engagement is to move forward toward resolution. When you feel stuck in those customer service engagements, when things are really not moving forward (or moving forward productively), maintain the following tricks up your sleeve to gain some traction. (Note: I use the term "customer service" very broadly. Customers… Continue reading Customer service secrets

set boundaries at work
Leadership

3 questions to ask before you set boundaries at work

Knowing how to set boundaries at work in unhealthy or unproductive situations is an important skill, both for yourself and ultimately for the team involved. But what does it mean to set boundaries at work, and how should you do it to achieve the desired outcome? Let's start by talking about what a boundary is.… Continue reading 3 questions to ask before you set boundaries at work

manage limited resources
Leadership

Two questions if you are managing with limited resources

Challenges of midlevel managers have some common themes, one of them being managing multiple initiatives within limited resources. "Limited resources" might be defined as not enough people, not enough budget, or not enough time (or all three). There are two types of work we perform: daily whirlwind tasks and larger, overarching initiatives. You'll need to… Continue reading Two questions if you are managing with limited resources

Leadership

After employee termination: how to care for the existing team

Working in isolation is very rare these days, so when one of your team members is fired, it can have a negative ripple effect that can seriously impact productivity. So when employee termination affects your team, what should you do? Of course, it's important to get work done - even more so when you're one… Continue reading After employee termination: how to care for the existing team

Leadership

The 10x Rule: How Fear and Discomfort Can Signal the Path Forward

In 2011, Grant Cordone wrote a book called The 10X Rule. In it, he described how to take "massive action" toward your goals. It's very much a rah-rah-rah book, geared toward salespeople and entrepreneurs, but when I read it, its concept of "more is more" didn't quite resonate with me.  Other books and online resources about… Continue reading The 10x Rule: How Fear and Discomfort Can Signal the Path Forward

effective SOPs binders
Leadership

Writing effective SOPs: 3 points most people miss

Good management requires some solid systems in place to manage toward or against. You can create systems and effective SOPs (standard operating procedures) for any operational aspect of your and your team's work. This includes running meetings, documentation, projects execution, individual and team reviews - the list goes on. Naturally, companies have systems and SOPs… Continue reading Writing effective SOPs: 3 points most people miss

employee recognition
Leadership

Employee recognition: Here’s how to do it right.

Being a boss is a job, an actual job. Being a manager means you need to learn how to do employee recognition well for your direct reports as part of your duties and responsibilities... even if it's not explicitly listed in your job description. Employee recognition = acknowledgement + reward. If you know how to… Continue reading Employee recognition: Here’s how to do it right.

work home transition
Leadership

Successfully Manage the Mental Work-Home Transition (The Solution Is Not What You Might Think!)

Even if you're the type of person who loves your job and doesn't mind being consumed by it, at one point or another, you've probably faced the challenge of how to limit the mental energy you expend on work in non-work situations. You've searched for a way to make sure you leave work at work… Continue reading Successfully Manage the Mental Work-Home Transition (The Solution Is Not What You Might Think!)

brainstorm teamwork creativity
Leadership

You can actually cultivate creativity. Here’s how.

I remember having to fill out performance reviews where one of the questions on the forms assessed the "creativity" of the employee. Creativity? Hm. At that time, to me, creativity either had to do with art (not relevant in my line of work), or the demonstration of some grand, brilliant solution to a problem that… Continue reading You can actually cultivate creativity. Here’s how.

Leadership

Conduct an Interview to Land the Right Person: The Midlevel Manager’s Guide

Turnover sucks, but it happens! As a manager, congratulations: it might be your job to replace people who leave your team. While you may or may not have complete authority in the whole process, you know you've got to conduct an interview (probably a bunch of them). This is your roadmap for making sure you… Continue reading Conduct an Interview to Land the Right Person: The Midlevel Manager’s Guide

manager mid-year review
Leadership

Mid-Year Reviews: Only Two Solutions You Need to Get Back on Track

For many organizations, mid-year reviews on job performance are either underway or soon to be underway. You probably developed goals for 2018 in the latter part of 2017, and it's the perfect time to see how far we've come! ... or how far we haven't come. Every year, a few of my direct reports would… Continue reading Mid-Year Reviews: Only Two Solutions You Need to Get Back on Track

management growth mindset
Leadership

Growth Mindset: The #1 Key to Management Mastery

Companies often set up their management roles as rewards for outstanding individual performance. There is one fundamental problem with this: individual achievement has nothing to do with good management. (See my post on the differences among leadership and management and authority.) But all is not lost! In order to transition well from stellar individual performance to… Continue reading Growth Mindset: The #1 Key to Management Mastery

managing up women in business
Leadership

Managing Up: Address the 3 Biggest Challenges to Mastering this Elusive Skill

When I interviewed a number of mid-career managers about their greatest pain points, one item came up again and again: managing up. You can find a lot of great articles online about managing up, and they're useful for tips and things you can try to do to manage up better. However, I'm interested in exploring… Continue reading Managing Up: Address the 3 Biggest Challenges to Mastering this Elusive Skill

woman business critical thinking
Leadership

New perspective in critical thinking

https://youtu.be/meAGOgBHL5w This week, we are reviewing the 3-2-1 Model for Critical Thinking. I walk you through it in the video above. In the Analysis step, we ask two questions: (1) How we decide to interpret the information we receive, and (2) What principles, whether from different perspectives, viewpoints or assumptions, we are applying. Let me make… Continue reading New perspective in critical thinking

Leadership

Application of the 3-2-1 Model for Critical Thinking

I simplified critical thinking into a short model because I would rather we all practice it more systematically in our daily lives. I would prefer to see that critical thinking is not something we have to strive toward when it really matters, but rather, we flex that muscle so regularly, it's second-nature. Super complex critical… Continue reading Application of the 3-2-1 Model for Critical Thinking

business woman smile critical thinking
Leadership

The 3-2-1 Model for Critical Thinking

I have a simplified model for critical thinking to share with you. (If you are interested in more complex models, you can check out The Foundation for Critical Thinking, Pearson's RED model, or others.) We define critical thinking as analyzing information prior to making a judgment. Therefore, at its most elemental, my version of a… Continue reading The 3-2-1 Model for Critical Thinking