Baby Micro-Aggressions

Baby Micro-Aggressions
Dear Colleagues: In the last week at work, I have been told no less than three times that I should hurry to have kids. Two of those comments came from male coworkers, and one came from my female boss who has several children. What is wrong with people that they feel this is an appropriate work topic, much less any of their business? I understand that sometimes people make these comments from a “good” place or with “good” intent. For example, they waited too long and had ... Read more
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Putting Workplace Failures in Better Perspective

Putting Workplace Failures in Better Perspective
You are a final candidate for a job you really want. This is your third interview. You know you have done well in the previous interviews and are feeling comfortable and confident. Then the interviewer asks, “Tell me about your most recent personal failure.” You had been prepared to answer any question about failure with an example of a team project that missed a deadline a year or so ago, but that isn’t what she’s asking. Your mind whirls, trying to find a personal ... Read more
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I Hate Small Talk. How Important is it in the Workplace?

I Hate Small Talk. How Important is it in the Workplace?
A colleague recently mentioned that not only does he not like making small talk, he doesn’t even like hearing it. We all engage in it every day. How important is it in the workplace? Think about the person who comes into the office in the morning and greets everyone by name and asks how the weekend was. Do you consider that a nuisance or simple friendliness? Contrast that to the woman who walks in with her head down, not acknowledging anyone. Do people assume she is shy, unfriendly, ... Read more
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Is Being the Office Fixer a Good Thing?

Is Being the Office Fixer a Good Thing?
Recently, I was in a conversation with a colleague. We were discussing a problem that we really didn’t own. We both came to that realization at the same time and laughed. How often do we choose to intervene when it isn’t our place or when it isn’t actually necessary. What does that mean? Isn’t being “a fixer” a good thing? In the workplace, I would answer that it depends. The following are some of the pros and cons of being the “workplace fixer.” ... Read more
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The Downside of Falling Into Leadership

The Downside of Falling Into Leadership
Your supervisor or manager is leaving. Perhaps she has been promoted, or she decided to retire, or she has found a position elsewhere. Regardless, you were surprised when management called you in and asked you to temporarily fill in for her until a replacement can be hired. It seemed politically inadvisable to decline the request, and, in truth, you were quite flattered and excited. You want to be a team player, and you think you are a good fit for the permanent position. You readily agreed ... Read more
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We are Always Judging and Being Judged

We are Always Judging and Being Judged
We judge people every time we meet them, every moment we are with them. And you are judged in return.  Sometimes our judgments are faulty. Think of a recent example when you misjudged someone. How did it happen. Did you make a quick appraisal—based on your first impression—that they were arrogant, frivolous, not very smart, unsophisticated, inexperienced, or lacking in understanding about a situation? Or did you rely on the previous opinions or labels from others, on what you had heard ... Read more
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Avoiding Professional Groupthink

Avoiding Professional Groupthink
Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that happens when someone or an in-group proposes a belief, action, or decision with great certainty, and others go along for the sake of harmony or to avoid conflict. As a result, dissenting viewpoints are suppressed, and independent thinking is strongly discouraged. While groupthink is generally thought to occur at the community or national level (for example, consider our political parties today), it also can be found within an agency or ... Read more
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What Does Your Office Tell Others About You?

What Does Your Office Tell Others About You?
Have you ever walked into someone’s office and had to wait for them to take stacks of clutter off a chair so you could sit down. Or have you been repulsed by old take-out food containers sitting on your colleague’s desk or by putting your papers down on top of something sticky? Or maybe your coworker likes to work out after work and keeps gym clothes and shoes in the corner. These may seem like extremes, but they are more common than you might imagine. You also may be thinking ... Read more
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Avoiding Negative Optics

Avoiding Negative Optics
Recently, President Trump arrived 20 minutes late for a Gender Equality Advisory Committee meeting at the G7 Summit in Quebec. His entrance was disruptive and rude, and it was documented in news reports around the world. The optics were especially negative. Think back to a recent meeting at your workplace. Was anyone late? Were you late? If so, what optic did your lateness provide for others? A few possible scenarios include: 1. You were viewed as someone who thinks she is self-important. ... Read more
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Would You Promote You?

Would You Promote You?
Most promotions are not automatic, and, generally, a variety of factors enter into the decision making process. Sometimes there are annual quotas such as the number of open positions for tenure decisions at a university. Sometimes a business is quite small, and there is a very short career ladder. Other jobs, like many in government, require a certain score on a civil service exam in order to be promoted. And, it is a reality that not all promotions are fair. For example, a family member of ... Read more
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