Archive | October, 2012

Rachel Carson & Leadership

31 Oct

This week is the 50th anniversary of the publication of Silent Spring, a book that changed how government and business viewed and used chemical pesticides, particularly DDT.

The New York Times Business section occasionally does bios of leaders who had significant impact on our society.  An article by Nancy F Cohn entitled From Calm Leadership, Lasting Change is such a bio and a fine read.

I was particularly interested in her citation of Susan Cain’s book, Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.  Here is my favorite quote from her book about Isaac Newton:

Isaac Newton:  “A mind for ever/ Voyaging through strange seas of Thought, alone.”

–  William Wordsworth

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Rudeness Online

24 Oct

Lately the Wall Street Journal has had a run of interesting articles about personal functioning in the workplace.  Why are we so rude online? is good read about how people are using Facebook and (go figure) believing what they say is somehow anonymous?

A rather more important issue is those who never read the second sentence.  Have you ever noticed how if you send a short email with two questions, with the title “2 questions,” more than half of the recipients do not answer the second Q?  This is actually rather more important than stating an online argument and then getting hurt feelings.

SEND ME A note on the email behavior that irritates you the most, we can build a list and have a good chuckle.

 

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.

Workplace Whiners

17 Oct

A recent article in the WS Journal had an interesting article on workplace whiners.  The discussion of the negative effects was very good. The suggestion that whiners can be “fixed” by co-workers fell short of the mark.  Trying to alter the behavior of a co-worker is very problematic and poorly done can create more problems that it solves.

Unmentioned was the best person to handle whiners is the whiner’s manager.  This is a reasonable responsibility for a manager as whining negatively affects productivity.

Even for a skilled manager this is a risky endeavor.  Here are some ideas to start.  In working with such a person you must frame the issue so they are not offended and turn the discussion into an argument.  Arguing with a whiner is like arguing with a 3-year old – you are not going to “win.”  Have a tactic in mind and wait for a moment when it will work, always in private.  It is usually best to begin with a question to frame the discussion, identify the issue and hint at possible avenues for change.  These three criteria are hard to meet.

Assuming you can manage this first encounter successfully you must be tenacious and stay with the issue.  People who whine get lots of attention and will not change unless there is motivation to do so.  A manager can provide this motivation.

My most successful attempt at this occurred when I noted to the office whiner how the mood of groups seemed to change when she entered them and perhaps she could begin her comments by starting with a positive statement and then noting others’ reactions.

This is a topic requiring more time so I may write a more in-depth article.  If so, it will appear in a future blog.

Or you could just leave a copy of the article on the whiner’s desk – so subtle.

There are a couple of ways that people can subscribe to this blog. Click the “+ Follow” link on the bottom right section of the site and enter your email address. This is a very easy way to receive the newest post as an email. The other way is via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The RSS Feed link is located on the right sidebar of the site, directly above the Categories section. Click on “RSS – Posts” to receive your posts in their favorite RSS reader. The RSS reader that many prefer is Google Reader (http://reader.google.com). It is free, well organized, and easy to use.

Performance Review: Getting It Right

10 Oct

Timely, accurate and thoughtfully delivered one-on-one feedback is probably the best choice for managing most people. However, it is reasonable to accrue ongoing records of an employees’ performance across time.  This is particularly true if you have management and employee development programs and if you have serious succession process.

It is also important to have a formal conversation regarding the person’s professional development.  When done skillfully PA can motivate the person and strengthen your relationship with her.

PA is controversial because it is a “good idea, to often badly done.”  This link takes you to an article that explores some of the major “badly done” aspects of performance appraisal and suggest a simple and powerful process for carrying out satisfactory Pas.

Smile: It Makes A Differrrrrence!!!!

3 Oct

Sometimes this blog gets pretty serious, but here is an article from the WSJournal that brought a smile and a chuckle.  Three points in the pull-out that may to invite you to click:

Say “cheese.”

Emotions are contagious.

Free cookies.

Go to:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203388804576612943738516996.html

Look at my categories to see how much interest there is in happiness.
Check out Gallup for the weekly happiness survey of the USA.