A close colleague recently received a well-deserved promotion, and I am thrilled for her and her manager. I believe that this sort of thing – “promotion” in the very best sense of the word – has the power to change careers … and lives.
Why Promotions Matter
It’s always nice to get a raise (more money) or a promotion (a loftier title and/or higher-level job responsibilities), of course. But I find that when done thoughtfully and purposefully, it can be much more than a “nice to have” or a brief shot-in-the-arm for morale purposes. In my friend’s case, the promotion:
- Showed her that she and her contributions were valued by the organization
- Gave her increased standing and confidence to interact with clients, colleagues, and vendors on a more equal footing as professional peers
- Changed her own thinking about what future steps her career might hold in store —what possibilities could become realities for her
- Increased her already strong appreciation for her manager, knowing that he had gone to bat for her when he didn’t have to
- And, in part that she’s not aware of yet, the promotion sets her up for other jobs (inside and outside the company) for which holding her new title/level is an unstated (but very real) requirement.
In the manager’s case, the promotion demonstrated: Continue reading
I have a confession to make: I was wrong about LeBron James.
I thought that he would never win an NBA Championship. While possessing other-worldly talent, I didn’t think he had the depth of character to lead his team to the mountaintop. Yet, somehow, there he was last month, celebrating a championship with his teammates—one that he had largely willed them toward. I was wrong.
Of course, many mis-judgments of talent are made in sports—and business—every day. The question is, what do we do when the facts change and we recognize that we’ve under- (or over-) evaluated someone on our team?
As brief background for non-basketball fans, LeBron James has been regarded as one of the most talented basketball players in the world since he was in high Continue reading
Apple's iconic CEO, Steve Jobs, left a legacy of products that have impacted the very ways in which we live and interact. Can the same always be said of other "star" employees -- or do the costs sometimes outweigh the benefits?
The passing of Apple’s legendary leader, Steve Jobs, brought with it a remarkable flood of poignant tributes from every corner. Many noted his amazing impact – as inventor, leader, and visionary – on the way we communicate, work, and entertain ourselves. There is no doubt that his influence and vision will live on in the products and company he created.
At the same time, a relatively small proportion of these retrospectives noted the downside of Jobs’ brilliant characteristics – a demanding nature that could often demean employees. It seems that his famous creative and inspiring temperament simultaneously wrought “the bullying, manipulation and fear that followed him around Apple.” This has led me to reflect this week on the costs and benefits of “star” employees in organizations.
In Jobs’ case, his inordinate gifts seem to have far outweighed – though didn’t excuse – his negative impact. Of course, as founder/CEO, his role was quite different than the “hired hand” position of even the most valuable employee. I wonder, though, if the benefits of “star” employees in organizations outweigh the true costs in many cases. Here are a few examples from throughout my career.
Product Creator / Collaboration Destroyer
This employee is revered for their ability to consistently create products that take the company’s line to the next level. To the good, they can serve to inspire other employees to “raise their game” and Continue reading
Posted in Employee Relations, Excellence, Leadership, Talent Management
Tagged Apple, Careers, company culture, Employee engagement, Employee Relations, high potential, Motivation and Rewards, Steve Jobs
Image via Wikipedia
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’ve been reflecting on people from my past professional lives for whom I am deeply grateful, mentors all. As is the nature of relationships, some I had the good fortune of knowing and working with for many years, while others I knew closely for only a short time. Whether our time together was long or short, each has had a lasting impact on me personally and professionally.
What Is A Mentor — and Where Do They Come From
The dictionary defines “mentor” as: Continue reading
Posted in Excellence, Happiness, Leadership
Tagged Business, Careers, company culture, Excellence, executives, Five People You Meet In Heaven, Happiness, HR professionals, HR qualities, Human Resources, influencing, kindness, Leadership, loyalty, mentoring, Mitch Albom, Thanksgiving
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As I was working with a manager recently, discussing strategies for improving the performance of a good-performing employee who recently seemed to be “cracking” under the pressure, the “light bulb” went on for me. In that moment, I was struck by the impossibility of the task — or, at the least, the noble-but-misguided way we were approaching the task. There we were, trying to fix what appeared on the surface to be a “job performance” problem — never recognizing that the real issue was something far different. All I could think to say was, “Maslow was right.”
Maslow Was Right
“Maslow?” the manager asked. “The guy in accounting who always gives everyone a hard time about their expense reports?” he asked. Continue reading
Posted in Employee Relations, Happiness, HR Resources, Talent Management
Tagged Abraham Maslow, Business, Careers, Employee engagement, Employee Relations, Employment, Happiness, Human Resources, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Motivation and Rewards, Psychology, Self-actualization
In honor of Halloween, I thought I might keep things on the lighter side and walk down “memory lane” a bit, recalling notable “characters” from my years in the working world — or at least situations in which our “best and brightest” thinking didn’t exactly shine through. Have you known characters or situations like these? Please share your stories … and we’ll enjoy a (kind-hearted) laugh or two together (all in good fun, of course)!
. . . Mr. Plant, I Presume: the sales executive who spotted his boss airport and, because he owed him some data that he didn’t have, decided to “hide” … behind a potted plant (yes, this is almost too cliched to be true — but it is)
. . . Just Doing My Nails: the HR person who was so relaxed, she regularly did her nails in team meetings — complete with bag of manicure supplies spread on the table, cotton balls between each finger, etc., etc., etc.
Posted in Employee Relations, Excellence, Happiness, Leadership
Tagged bosses, Business, Careers, company culture, Employee Relations, executives, Halloween, Happiness, HR professionals, Human Resources, Mickey Mantle, New York, Valentine's Day
From the title, you might expect this to be a post about service to others (i.e., what nurses do), as an analogy for HR’s service to employees and managers. While there are any number of comparisons between nursing and HR (perhaps fodder for future posts), my focus today is on another aspect of HR, actually: hiring the right people (and letting go of the wrong ones).
Minor Surgery, Major Comfort
I had the occasion to have a short stay in a hospital recently for minor surgery (everything went very well; thank you kindly). As it was (fortunately) my first overnight spent in a hospital, I was keenly aware of the type of care I received. I was struck by the fact that, to a person, everyone I came into contact with seemed incredibly “at peace” with what they were doing — i.e., caring for patients, controlling pain, prepping for surgery, etc. I’m sure that each of the nurses, technicians, doctors, etc., had their own personal struggles and hardships that they carried into the hospital that day. Yet, once the “lights went on” and they were interacting with patients (in this case, me), all of those struggles vanished, as they made me feel like I was their only patient, and all of their efforts were going toward meeting my needs.
It was quite a humbling experience, to be candid — i.e., to see a team of people working together, in this case to prepare for, carry out, and help me recover from, surgery. They each seemed to go about their jobs with a certain Continue reading
Posted in Excellence, Happiness, Talent Management, Views of HR
Tagged Business, Careers, company culture, Compassion, Employment, Excellence, Good To Great, Happiness, Hospital, HR professionals, Human Resources, Nurse, Patient
As the summer comes to a close and hiring season traditionally picks up again (or, let’s hope so, anyway, given the economy and all), I thought it might be nice to ease back into the swing of things with a light-hearted anecdote or two about checking references. My HR career didn’t exactly start off on an auspicious note in this regard; I learned the value of checking references right away. We “live and learn,” as they say . . . and gaining a story or two along the way is never a bad thing, right?!?
Ignoring All The Evidence (Really, She Can’t Cook At All?)
My first “HR” assignment came in my senior year of college. I was the catering manager at our fraternity house that year, responsible for getting 50 guys fed three meals a day, five days a week. Unfortunately, our stalwart cook (a carbon copy of the Marlboro Man, but that’s a story for another day) had retired, so we were scrambling to find a full-time cook that summer. The economy was strong at the time, and despite weeks of advertising, we were only able to come up with two real candidates: a 40-year old man who had to ask his mother for permission to come to the interview, and Hilda.