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:

Is Your Business Locked into Narrow Thinking?

Is Your Business Locked into Narrow Thinking?

Have you heard the riddle of a father and son who get in a horrible car crash that kills the dad? The son is rushed to the hospital and the surgeon exclaims, “I can’t operate, that boy is my son!” The listener’s expectation is challenged when the riddle’s answer is given: The surgeon might be the boy’s mother. Or have you heard about how people see meaningful shapes in their grilled cheese sandwich or homegrown potato? Once you see them, you can’t unsee them; what your mind has conjured becomes your reality...

Smarty Pants Don't Always Fit

Smarty Pants Don't Always Fit

Hiring is a confounding game. Some people have a great knack for it and an intuitive sense about people — but even they can get it wrong. The world-renowned Disney Institute hires “attitude versus aptitude,” and you would be wise to do the same.

Recently, I worked with a company who filled a position with great match for the technical skills needed for the role. But this new employee’s on-the-job performance created communication nightmares that led other long-term employees to quit. Within a year, the team was sinking...

Would You Like to Work For You?

Would You Like to Work For You?

Here’s an idea I share with my clients: We don’t actually get to decide what kind of leaders or communicators we are. Instead, the people in our lives decide the degree to which they value our impact. Whether you lead or manage people, look now through your employees’ eyes and ask, “Would I want to work for me?”

Years ago I interviewed 40 leaders, locally and internationally, to learn something about what made them tick. One question I asked was if they read about leadership or other topics to inform their actions. What I found was the leaders who read often were more concise and on-point during interviews. Those who said they didn’t read much wandered while answering questions. Recently, two clients sent me insightful reads on leadership. These clients are already on the path to being excellent bosses, conscious of the constructive impact they can and want to have with their employees. They read.

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...

The Masked Agitator

The Masked Agitator

I recently coached an organization that employed a toxic employee. Nationally, she was highly regarded as an expert in her profession — but co-workers saw beyond flashy credentials. They saw her as controlling, erratic, manipulative, paranoid and brilliant — even creating little hand signals to talk about her unnoticed. Leadership had been dazzled by her public performance, but chose to ignore the red flags and repeated complaints from her employees. Once her supervisors understood the problem, they had already kicked the can down the road for so long due to their paralyzing fear of conflict, they were at a loss as to what to do next (as she had previously threatened litigious actions).This is what toxic employees count on: keeping their negative behaviors from decision-makers and, in some cases, threatening legal action at any attempts toward accountability. Since lower-level employees are exposed to toxic behaviors routinely, leadership needs to connect with these employees to get feedback on their work experiences.

Let me be clear: People with the proper motivation can...

When I Was Your Age...

When I Was Your Age...

Years ago, I attended a presentation about multiple generations working together.  Given by generational expert Meagan Johnson, it was thought-provoking and funny. Johnson asked a room filled mostly with baby boomers to shout out adjectives that came to mind when thinking about millennials: Narcissistic, lazy, irresponsible, unreliable, rude, selfish marched the responses.  She nodded, smiled and revealed her own list on a giant screen. It mimicked our collective list. Then she quietly said, “Only my list isn’t mine; it’s from a 1968 Life Magazine article called ‘The Generation Gap.’ It’s about you.”  

Amnesia — isn’t it great? We forget who we were