The Magic and Power of Please and Thank You

He was a new supervisor and he seemed frustrated as we spoke. “Why do I have to ask people to do things? Shouldn’t I be able to just tell them to do it?” The short answer is, “Yes, you can tell them and they should respond.” But is that the way to build a productive, high-performance team? Is that the way you want your boss to relate to you? When…

construction-2578410__340

Tips for the Authorityless Leader

I was asked this question in a workshop recently. In addition to my team in the company, I work with subcontractors. It’s like a team, but they don’t really report to me and they work for a completely different company. How can I be effective when I don’t have such limited authority? This is a variation of the classic matrixed organization and it’s a situation that many project managers face.…

Promotion

Five Actions to Take When Your New Team Includes Friends and Former Peers

Congratulations! You just received a promotion. The selection process was very competitive and several of your peers in the company were also in the running. Some of those peers are now on your team, but that’s okay because they are all happy for you and want to help you succeed. Well, maybe not all of them. Actually, in realville where you actually live, at least one, and probably more, of…

Problem Solving

A 10-Step Approach to Problem Solving

When an aircraft mishap occurs, specially trained investigators are sent to the scene to examine the evidence and determine a cause. Investigators examine physical evidence, witness statements, and hopefully participant’s testimony in an attempt to piece together a sequence of events that result in finding a cause. It’s an exercise in problem solving and a good system for leaders to use when solving problems with their teams. One of the…

Argument

Four Steps to Healthy Conflict

The last few weeks have seen an embarrassing display of unrestrained and generally unhealthy conflict. Although public debate is good, it is usually uncontrolled and can rapidly produce a toxic environment. That environment can quickly affect your team. A toxic work environment can be defined as a condition that exists when team members are stressed by the actions of other team members and the action, or inaction, of a boss.…