Engaging and Supporting the Team “Outsider”

Square peg into round hole

From a very early age, our brains have been trained to evaluate “fit.” We place a series of objects in front of toddlers and assess whether they can identify the common theme and which item doesn’t belong. Those of us who grew up with Sesame Street can probably sing the “One of these things is not like the other” song from memory. Fast forward 20+ years and our brains are still working subconsciously to evaluate similarities and differences. We tend to connect more easily with people who think, feel, and behave the same way that we do. We accept small … Read More

Everyone Needs a Work Spouse

photo of man and woman at work

While many companies discourage romantic office relationships and have policies that prevent family members working together, there’s one form of employee relationship that delivers tangible benefits to the organization. The concept of a “work spouse” is becoming more common and less taboo. It’s important to establish exactly what a “work spouse” is and what it isn’t. A work spouse is one coworker with whom you connect on a deep level. You may have experienced an immediate connection with them or share similar interests/perspectives. The relationship is likely very low maintenance in that there are rarely disagreements and there are low … Read More

Collaboration and Leadership: It Takes a Village

There’s a unique bond that happens between business travelers when flights are delayed. We all grab our laptops and try to make the most of our time on the ground/tarmac in a desperate effort to preserve the delicate work-life balance we’ve constructed. We make apologetic calls home to the spouses who desperately need a break, and we begin rapidly assessing the potential impact of future delays. On this particular severely delayed trip, I was huddled around the one accessible power source with a senior design leader for a tech company. I was struggling to concentrate because every few seconds an … Read More

When Collaboration Kills Productivity

Read any article or book on decision making, employee engagement, or company culture, and you’ll hear all of the reasons why collaboration is the key to making better decisions and keeping your team members happy. Everyone feels involved, blind spots can be minimized, and mistakes can be caught early thanks to the additional brainpower a team brings to the table. But collaboration can come at a cost. While collaboration can help bring diverse ideas and perspectives to any project, it can also slow down momentum significantly. The more people you involve, the longer it takes to consider everyone’s ideas and … Read More