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Leadership

Are You Sugarcoating Your Feedback Without Realizing It?

Managers tend to inflate the feedback they give to their direct reports, particularly when giving bad news. And by presenting subpar performance more positively than they should, managers make it impossible for employees to learn, damaging their careers and, often, the company. Previous research into this kind of feedback inflation has centered…
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4 Ways to Manage an Emotionally Needy Employee

These days, there’s lots of discussion about the importance of leaders being more vulnerable and creating psychologically safe work environments in which people can share their feelings. But what happens when someone takes that too far? A client of mine, I’ll call her Anna, recently struggled with this. Anna has…
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10 Ways to Mitigate Bias in Your Company’s Decision Making

If your company is like most, you’re likely struggling with workplace discrimination, even if you don’t know it. Equity gaps remain a pernicious problem in the U.S., particularly for women and people of color, who, on average, earn less and are under-promoted compared to their white or male counterparts. And though federal law has prohibited workplace…
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Hire Leaders for What They Can Do, Not What They Have Done

Fifty years have passed since the publication of The Peter Principle, but its rule still applies today. “In time, every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out its duties,” noted Laurence J. Peter, the educator behind this famous work. His theory postulates that most competent people are…
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What to Do When You’re Losing Your Audience During a Presentation

You can tell when an audience has stopped listening to you during a presentation. Phones come out, and attendees surreptitiously text underneath the table. Instead of leaning forward and nodding along with your points, they begin slouching or tapping their feet. The more brazen may even start whispering to one…
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To Coach Junior Employees, Start with 4 Conversations

Career coaching is crucial for recent college graduates and young people entering the workforce. Though many have scant experience, they’re making choices that will affect their lives long into the future. Research has shown that first jobs are an optimal time for workers to gain transferable skills that follow them through their…
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4 Ways to Help Your Team Avoid Digital Distractions

In our always-on culture, employers expect workers to be reachable and responsive at all times. However, research shows that constant connectivity may be counterproductive when it comes to engagement and productivity levels. Today’s smartphone users check their phones 150 times a day, which is the equivalent of spending 2.5 hours a day just…
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Managing an Underperformer in a Family Business

In family businesses, leaders sometimes make hiring and staffing decisions based on relationship and obligation as much as on competence and experience. After all, one purpose of these firms is to provide employment for family members. But that doesn’t mean all family members perform effectively. A few may feel so…
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Managing an Underperformer in a Family Business

In family businesses, leaders sometimes make hiring and staffing decisions based on relationship and obligation as much as on competence and experience. After all, one purpose of these firms is to provide employment for family members. But that doesn’t mean all family members perform effectively. A few may feel so…
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What Good Feedback Really Looks Like

According to a recent Harvard Business Review cover story, it’s rarely useful to give feedback to colleagues. The authors argue that constructive criticism won’t help people excel and that, when you highlight someone’s shortcomings, you actually hinder their learning. They say that managers should encourage employees to worry less about their…
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Why You Should Create a “Shadow Board” of Younger EmployeesWhy You Should Create a “Shadow Board” of Younger Employees

A lot of companies struggle with two apparently unrelated problems: disengaged younger workers and a weak response to changing market conditions. A few companies have tackled both problems at the same time by creating a “shadow board” — a group of non-executive employees that works with senior executives on strategic…
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