Being emotional, and being human, at work

Emotions at work are on public display these days, whether it’s Serena slamming her tennis racquet to the ground or Kavanaugh yelling at the Senate during his job interview. It makes for interesting news, for sure. And it makes me, a Leadership Coach, think more about the role of emotions at work.

Daniel Goleman’s seminal work on Emotional Intelligence gave HR professionals a way to talk about “soft skills”. EQ frameworks and assessments followed. The EQi 2.0 includes these factors: self-perception,

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Strategy Ladder = bridge between sweat and dreams

A lot of clients are in the thick of it – scaling up, in growth or shrink mode, or implementing major projects. As leaders and I unpack their experience, we’re noticing a blue space in between the work on the ground and the eyes on the sky.

On the ground, a focus on day-to-day operational excellence, getting stuff done and doing it better and faster. Great operational plans that are flexible and intelligent responses to success and failure. Focus on customer satisfaction,

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Create a High Performance Team Culture

I’m working with clients who are interested in building certain cultures in their organization. “We need more accountability” or “we need more innovation”.  Almost immediately, this becomes performance talk: i.e. if we hire people with these attitudes (and get rid of those who don’t have them) we will naturally build them in the workplace. Not so fast! It’s tempting to simplify the complexity of human dynamics this way. But anyone who’s joined an existing team finds out pretty quickly what works – and what doesn’t.

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In Workplace Communications, Being Direct is Kind   

You’re sitting in front of an employee whose negative outlook and constant complaining is making it difficult for others to work with him. Or, a colleague has just sent you a note saying that unfortunately, no one on his team has time to participate in your strategic cross-functional project team. Your boss tells you, with great excitement, that she’s made an unrealistic promise to a significant client, and now she’s depending on you to make it happen.

In all these cases you’re faced with a dilemma: How do you tell the other person your side of the story without alienating them or damaging the relationship – and perhaps your career?

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Today’s Leaders Make it Safe to Play

I work and play in the heart of Canada’s technology triangle – Waterloo, Ontario – the home of Blackberry, Open Text, D2L and scores of other innovative and exciting workplaces. The ping-pong tables, all day feasts and pets at work symbolize a conscious intent to create better company cultures –less “command and control” and more playful, open, creative and satisfying. Along these lines, companies are experimenting with their structures too; Flatter, leaner structures, the rise of self-organizing teams and disdain for anything that feels like hierarchy.

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