Social Pain = Physical Pain

Neuroscientists like Matt Lieberman of UCLA are revealing more and more about the impact of comments that shame or isolate another person, as in a boss saying to his/her employee…   "What in heaven's name prompted you not to call back that customer? How could you have been so thoughtless?" "Do you consider yourself a team player? I sure don't." "When are you going to get off your duff and start doing some work around here?" When a leader speaks to an employee this way, the … [Read more...]

An Organization Devoutly to be Desired

We all fantasize but the object of our fantasy is seldom an organization, an ideal one, the one we would create for us to work in if we were king. Of course, if we were king–or queen–we wouldn't be worrying about working, but I digress. Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones reported in the May 2013 issue of HBR the results of surveying hundreds of executives about their ideal organization. You can download a podcast of them on this. They uncovered six elements of an enterprise that operates at its … [Read more...]

Performance Requires More than Motivation and Ability

People often think that for employees to perform well all they need are the appropriate ability and skills and the motivation to achieve great results. But there is a missing ingredient: opportunity. So says John Boudreau in a recent issue of Talent Management Magazine (p. 10). He is spot on. You can be well trained to build departmental sales and keen to get at it but if your boss, the Director of Sales, hogs all the promising clients and sales calls, you won't have the opportunity to apply … [Read more...]

Too Many Managers Avoid Problem Performers

A recent survey of over 2000 U.S. employers done for CareerBuilder found that 27 % of bosses had an employee they would like to see leave the organization. This is not surprising but what struck me was the proportion of managers who could see themselves adopting a strategy that avoids the problem entirely or borders on doing so. A plurality (42%) of responding managers said they would engage in a formal discussion around the performance shortfall which could include triggering the discipline … [Read more...]

Employee Recognition: More frequently, Please, and Link it to Core Values

Companies are turning to employee recognition as an internal strategy to boost employee engagement and positively impact such metrics as productivity, ROA, ROE, and retention of both employees and customers. For example, companies that have a formal strategic recognition program in place had a voluntary turnover rate (i.e. people choosing to leave) of 14%, vs. 18% for those who don't. Here are several guidelines to make your recognition more impactful: Tie your recognition not only to … [Read more...]

Don’t Forget the “Why” in Your Mission Statement

A colleague of mine, Gwen Kinsey, led a crisp, interactive presentation at a recent leadership breakfast event. The topic was about how mission statements engage (or not) your employees. Gwen's session drove home a point for me and I'd like to share it here. She put us in small groups and handed out two mission statements, one to half the groups, the other to the other half. Our task was to read the mission we were given and find connections between it and what we value highly. It turned out … [Read more...]

Another Angle on Employee Motivation

It's the end of regulation time in a soccer game and the score is tied. It's time for the shoot out to determine the victor. You are the coach. How should you advise your five shooters, each of whom will get one shot at close range? "I want you all to concentrate on our scoring at least three times", OR "I want you to concentrate on our not missing more than two times." You first reaction is probably like mine, the first option, of course! It's a positive message, a positive objective, … [Read more...]

Developing Gen Y Leaders

What leadership competencies do newly minted Millenial employees need to develop, from the get go? And what strengths do they, as a cohort, bring to the workplace? We hear so much "gen Y bashing" these days. We hear the stereotypes: unfocused, texting obsessed, ADHD prone, the world owes me recognition and, BTW, I'm pretty well ready for the C-suite…now! The Center for Creative Leadership set out to learn more. They conducted a study of about 500 managers and reported the results last year in … [Read more...]

They Feel Entitled. How about Engaged Too?

They're either disengaged or under engaged in their work but they very much intend to stay with their current employer for a long time. This is what a new study by Modern Survey revealed. For government workers, 80% were less than engaged but 60% plan to stay. Not like the private sector, you say? Well, how about 66% not engaged and 56% hanging around? Furthermore, the percentage of employees, public and private, who felt their total compensation package is competitive is in the mid fifties. … [Read more...]

Teleworkers Perform But Do They Rise?

The typical teleworker in the US is a 49 years old, university educated, salaried individual in a management or professional role, says the Telework Research Network. Some of these just love the opportunity to indulge themselves through the satisfaction of doing knowledge or creative work that both engages them and challenges them. But many of them also want career advancement. They want to get ahead. This is where an interesting article from Talent Management Magazine enters the picture. It … [Read more...]