Archive | January, 2014

25 Ways to Spot Leaders You Can Trust

27 Jan

Be a Better Neighbor; Be a Better Coworker

14 Jan


A few days ago my neighbor came over with homemade goodies to share. I was struggling through a fitness challenge. It was a thoughtful gesture, by a genuinely thoughtful person. Seriously, her family is that “borrow a cup of sugar anytime” group that makes you feel a little guilty. I was touched, and slightly embarrassed that she caught me looking like a drowned rat, but she didn’t judge. It started a conversation about her own personal struggle to get back into fitness.  She’s the kind of neighbor who makes me want to be a better neighbor. Seriously.

I can’t remember the last time I brought her something just because. Did she really know how much her thoughtfulness meant to a jaded homeowner like me?

All this got me to thinking: neighbors are a lot like coworkers.  What type of person makes you want to be a better coworker? I’ve got a few thoughts:

1.  Be conscientiousness. This is one of those buzz words, but if you want to be a good coworker, remember that the things that others as you to do may be top priority for them. The quality and care you take with a request shows them how much you value what matters to them. If they feel you valued, they are more likely to value what matters to you.  Reciprocity at it’s finest!

2. Hold the judgement, please. We are all struggling through something. Sometimes it’s a workout, sometimes it’s getting a spreadsheet to behave. I’ve found my team mates are more forgiving  when they don’t perceive negative scrutiny and judgement as they work through their own situations.  Everyone’s challenge is different. At least they’re working on it.

3. Take courteous initiative. Think of others. We all know coworkers who have large looming deadlines, or just a lot on their plate in a given week. Do something nice–drop off a snack, offer to run a report across the hall. Be the kind of person  you would want helping you.

None of this is rocket science, but if we all remember these things, the office might be a little bit kinder.

Be the hero you wish you’d had.



21st Century Managers: Guiding Stars

10 Jan


sigh readging

True Story of an Unguided Star  
There was once a bright graduate from Syracuse University who found a full time job with a Name Company in the midwest. Imagine her disappointment to discover that her job required none of her education, none of her intern experience.  She was slotted to routine tasks.  At her annual review her supervisor was pleased with her performance because she “required no supervision and performed so well independently.”   Six months later, the SU grad took her degree and experience to New York where she landed a job in a Small Company that was impressed with the Name Company.  At the annual review, her supervisor explained that he was disappointed with her.  He had assumed that she had acquired more skills working for the Name Company.  Panicked, she asked what she should do, for she had no idea that she was not operating at the expected…

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Take a beat: You need your vacation.

8 Jan


The reality of life for most of us is that we aren’t going to escape without having to put in some work. While the day in day out of work will vary, the impact on our mental and physical health will be the same if we don’t take steps to recharge. In an article by INC. Taking a Vacation is Part of Your Job it highlights that athletes take a break to rest and care for themselves after strenuous bouts of exertion. The comparison to marathon runners is, I think, very accurate.

Life is a marathon. Long roads with varied scenery. Sometimes you’ll be in the lead, and other times you’ll be pulling up the end of the line. You’re usually in good company, but sometimes you’re on a stretch alone.

However you get through the 26.2 (or 365,) it’s important to rest up afterwards; Runners don’t feel guilt about taking a break, so why do employees?  Work is a series of marathons. Few runners would dream of successfully tackling multiple marathons in a row (unless your this guy,) but too often employees think it’s okay to go years without a real vacation. That’s not healthy. I would challenge that anyone who hates time off to refresh, examine their head space, or to travel, needs to see a therapist.  Everyone needs time to rest their mental muscles.

I always tell my team to take care of themselves. Take vacation time early and often; it’s healthier than taking one large break at the end of the summer.

The work will always be here. With or without YOU. And YOU have a finite amount of time to spend doing anything. I’d recommend using that time wisely. A company shouldn’t fall apart without you for a few days, and if it does, there is a larger operations issue at needs to be addressed–and unless you’re the COO, that’s not really your problem.

So. Doctor’s Orders: take your vacation. Your not doing yourself, or your company any favors by working yourself to death. And if you do die from overworking,  I promise you, someone new will be found to replace you in short order. It’s not meant to be callous. It’s just business.

The beat goes on.

With Virtual Interviews and Gamification on the Rise, Will the In-Person Interview Become Obsolete?

8 Jan

Generation HR

I had nearly forgotten about the three-martini lunch, that oh so popular ritual among the businessmen in the New York neighborhood where I grew up. Then Mad Men came along with its high-definition window on what our  fathers had been up to all day at their Manhattan offices in the sky.


Is the in-person interview destined to become as much of a nostalgic oddity as the three-martini lunch? The first whiff of an applicant’s cologne, the strength and sincerity of a handshake, and those intangible signals emitted by an applicant’s body language may soon become obsolete.

What is taking their place? Two new millennia approaches to interviewing and screening applicants are becoming more popular by the day: virtual interviews and gamification.  

 Some virtual interviews (aka online interviews) may be held live using a platform like Skype.  In other cases, the recruiter will e-mail the candidate a…

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Someone’s Got a Case of the Mondays: How to Motivate Employees With Games (Seriously!)

8 Jan

Proactive employee development. Imagine if playing a stress relief game for a few minutes each afternoon, not only recharged the employees mind, but provided information to a supervisor about the underlying interests and under developed skills of their staff.

Thinking the Ink

Playing games and the enjoyment of game play is part of the human experience. Throughout civilizations, humans have played games – for entertainment and storytelling. But games have never been just about fun, they have also been used throughout history for education, training, and other practical purposes. And this is still the case today.

When the British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt in 1922, he found among the many buried treasures several boards used to play the game of Senet. Apparently board games were very popular in ancient Egypt: scientists have found Senet boards that date back over 5,000 years.

Fast-forward 2,000 years (give or take a few), and we find ourselves in the fastest-paced society ever. Consumers are permanently connected to the Internet (and each other) through mobile devices and record numbers of marketing messages and distractions. So it’s no surprise that one of the most talked about engagement tactics of the past year has been gamification. This means using game dynamics like competition, collection of rewards such as points, badges or levels, and status on leaderboards to give consumers – and customers – a fun experience…

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