Productive Conflict: Offer Reassurance

Let’s do a hypothetical. Your team is working on developing new software for one of your top clients. They have some complicated stuff going on, and they need a better way to track what’s coming through the warehouses, what’s exiting, and where it’s going in real time. This is a big project and there’s a … Read more

Productive Conflict: Bring in a Neutral Perspective

We don’t know what we don’t know. That sounds obvious, right? But when tensions are high and conflict ensues, our view gets more narrow, and we don’t realize that we don’t know what we don’t know. People who seek counsel tend to consult with trusted advisors to help evaluate risks and possible outcomes. We’ll start with a real-life … Read more

Leaders Experiment

One of my favorite leadership experiments happened when I was a band teacher. If you know my origin story, you know there was a time when I was a very negative leader. Part of the turn-around in the late 1990’s involved the revelation of the power of positive feedback. I decided to do a radical … Read more

An Idea for Leaders to Talk Feedback

Here’s an idea for a team-building activity, with an added bonus— It can start the conversation about how important and welcome performance feedback is. First, ahead of time, ask each participant to come prepared with examples of two bits of feedback they’ve received in their career: One item that seemed harsh at the time, but … Read more

Leaders Consider the Source

When you survey people, formally or informally, beware this common trap: All responses are equally credible. Leaders can get distracted when looking at customer surveys, or employee engagement surveys, based on their own frame of mind at the time. Sometimes, we’re looking for the best, perhaps for reassurance, or to confirm our own biases. In … Read more

Reconsider the Performance Review

“What if feedback were so frequent that performance reviews became irrelevant?” This is one of my tweets from awhile back. I don’t have the data anymore, but it was the most re-tweeted tweet of my entire tweeting career. It struck a nerve. At the recent Professional Development Conference for the Central Iowa Chapter of the … Read more