Silence is Golden

Silence Image

This week, Jeff Bezos shared an interesting technique he uses to make sure team members don’t go off-topic during a meeting. He uses silence as a tool. At the beginning of each executive meeting, they all gather together and sit quietly to read the latest memo. That silence is likely jarring for many new employees who are used to a rushed workday. Silence is a funny thing. Some people crave silence while others find silence uncomfortable if not distracting.  Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, there are many strategic uses for silence in the workplace. Anyone in sales knows silence … Read More

Beware of the Bad Apples You Keep

Why don’t you just fire her? That’s the first question any leader hears when they complain about the bad apple on his/her team. It’s so simple, really. If someone’s behavior is disruptive and is distracting the team, they should be released so they can find a better mutual fit. But, in the real world, it’s often much more complicated than that. There are hundreds of reasons why leaders choose to keep a bad apple. At worst, some managers keep bad apples because they lack the courage to confront the behavior. There’s no excuse for this scenario. Period. Managers who overlook … Read More

Collaborating through Conflict

Conflict at work

When I started my career fresh out of grad school, I worked as a recruiter in a highly competitive IT consultant firm. It didn’t take long to realize that, more often than not, if a candidate failed to succeed it wasn’t because he/she lacked the technical skills necessary to complete the work. The key issue was always a soft skills gap. Communication, time management, a positive attitude, problem solving skills, etc. It was always a soft skill deficit that created conflict and resulted in having to back-fill the position. I learned to ask all candidates to “Tell me about a … Read More

How Not to Communicate a Layoff

On Friday, a friend of mine received news that her position was being eliminated and effective immediately she had been laid off. This, of course, was horrible news. Being laid off unexpectedly right before the holidays is just awful. She had worked for the company for 22 years. How do you tell a loyal employee of 22 years that she is being laid off? In this case, the HR rep left the employee a voicemail. The employee received that voicemail during the 15 minute break she had while on jury duty. “Hi Jane, this is Mary from HR. I’m sorry … Read More

Three Steps to Being Heard

If there’s anything an election year reminds us, it’s that disagreements are uncomfortable. When each side feels passionately about a topic, and neither is willing to hear facts, perspective, or concerns from the other side, the discussion reaches an impasse. Occasionally, when debate occurs between people in a healthy relationship, it’s possible to agree to disagree. But when the opponent is your boss, and the issue at hand can’t be ignored, a more thoughtful approach is necessary. Influencing senior leadership requires planning and careful consideration. Unless the company is built on a culture of radical transparency and honesty, a small … Read More

The HOW Can Matter More than the WHAT

I grew up in a baseball family. My brother played, my father coached, and my mother was the team scorekeeper. My mom loved being the scorekeeper because it kept her away from the stands where all of the parents were second guessing the coach (her husband) and critiquing his communication style. You see, my dad was loud. His directions and feedback were loud and clear not only on our field, but 2-3 fields away. One player’s mom asked my mom how she tolerated my father yelling at the kids all the time. She laughed and said she ignores most of … Read More