Don’t Let Groupthink Rule Your Workplace

Don’t Let Groupthink Rule Your Workplace

Groupthink is all too common when people work together in a brainstorming or planning session. Psychology Today says groupthink “occurs when a group values harmony and coherence over accurate analysis and critical evaluation. It causes individual members of the group to unquestioningly follow the word of the leader, and it strongly discourages any disagreement with the consensus.”

This phenomenon can veer a team or company off course, or it can result in people stereotyping others, including their colleagues —

Start the New Year with a New Mindset

Start the New Year with a New Mindset

Ebenezer Scrooge learned his lessons the hard way. It required a harrowing night of visits from three ghosts to set him on a better path. Mr. Scrooge took his ghostly apparitions’ messages to heart, and bought the big fat goose for the family of his poor, bedraggled employee Bob Cratchit. He also thought more about how he could catapult his newfound enthusiasm for helping others from the joyful festivities of late December into the cold, yet ever-hopeful newness of January. He promised to make Cratchit’s life at work more purpose-driven and well-defined, and committed to starting the New Year providing better clarity for his team. You should do the same by asking yourself these questions:

Trust the Pattern

Trust the Pattern

Lately, with the news worldwide being somewhat bleak, I thought I’d write about trust -— since it seems to be waning a bit. Trust is something we commonly talk about in business, in leadership, in politics. It’s something we aspire to build and yet still seems challenging to grasp. So here’s my attempt to define trust and how it manifests in our lives.

The obligatory dictionary definition of trust (from Merriam-Webster) defines it as a “belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective.” Patrick Lencioni, author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, says trust is foundational and that building it requires vulnerability, which means apologizing to our family and friends, and to business colleagues when we’ve messed up; or getting real about what we don’t understand or when we need help.

But in working with people for years, I have come to believe that reliability

Boundaries or Bust

Boundaries or Bust

One person’s boundaries can become another person’s problem so it’s important to look at the perspectives of others before you articulate your boundaries. If you just can’t take on any more work, putting a boundary up is a good idea. But that work has to go somewhere, so think about the causal relationships between your boundaries and how they are received.

Communication patterns are important in being fair to others and yourself. Like a boat cutting through water...

Do Ask; Don't Tell

Do Ask; Don't Tell

If I have learned one thing by working with people in organizations, it’s that there’s much more telling than asking going on. As a business coach, my clients will expect me to ask, at some point in their session, “So what’s the question?”

Technological advancements, competition, globalization, pressure for increased productivity and chasing dollars all contribute to heavy workloads and little free time. So when asked for help, leaders tend to give a quick answer and tell employees what to do. It’s just faster and easier.

Providing a quick answer is the right response when in the midst of a crisis that requires immediate action. But giving a quick answer doesn’t work best when trying to build the capabilities of staff. Employees and leaders get into a pattern of asking and telling. And while that can be frustrating for both, breaking away from that pattern is harder than one would think.

The Power of Failure

The Power of Failure

Bowling alley birthday parties were all the rage when my sons were little. In the interest of developing self-esteem, bumper pads filled the alleys to ensure the little tykes dropped some pins. By the time my kids were in high school, zero-tolerance rules were ubiquitous and helicopter parenting was a newly coined phrase in the American lexicon. Parents write papers, do research for student projects and are involved in so many facets of their children’s’ lives it can be dizzying. Those bowling bumpers, years later, are still firmly in place.

All of this unconscious hovering sends a tacit, unspoken message that mistakes are unacceptable while perfection is the ultimate parental accomplishment. My own father expects more from my accomplishments than I actually achieve, so in his eyes I always fall short. His need for me to be perfect has caused me to stop sharing my accomplishments with him. Such high expectations...

Is Your "Be Like Me" Mentality Hurting Your Team?

Is Your "Be Like Me" Mentality Hurting Your Team?

We are all born with preferences for introversion and extraversion. Some of us sit in the middle of the continuum (ambiverts), but people typically fall into one of these two categories. And you might be surprised by how the two different groups perceive one another. Here are some weirdly revealing answers I’ve heard in response to questions I ask about what people say they dislike about introverts and extroverts:

The Hard Truth on Trust

The Hard Truth on Trust

Trust is often at the heart of what goes right and what goes wrong. Strong trust leads to constructive conflict while poor trust invites elephants into the room. When a company has a culture of trust,  people keep their commitments. In its absence, team members become unreliable and productivity drops.

Let’s take a step back. Every spring, I anticipate hearing the first thunderous roar...