Improving the practice of management
We all have professional idols we’d like to meet, people whose careers inspire and impress us. But how do you connect with them? Start by establishing your credibility. When you email or message your hero, mention mutual connections, shared alumni affiliations, or work you’ve done in their field. This person likely gets a lot of requests, so demonstrate why connecting with you will be mutually beneficial. Be specific about what you’re asking for and what you can offer. (If you don’t have something valuable to offer, that might be a reason not to reach out. ) You should also be clear that you have no expectations — you like what they do and you’d enjoy the chance to be useful to them, but you completely understand if they’re too busy. By showing that you are aware of their circumstances, and don’t want to take up too much of their time, you can set yourself apart from the rest of their inbox. — Adapted from “How to Reach Out to Someone Whose Career You Admire,” by Dorie Clark. Artist credit: JUJ WINN/GETTY IMAGES
A colleague who always thinks they’re right can be extremely frustrating to deal with. There are a few ways to keep the relationship productive and professional, however. The next time you find yourself in a debate with this person, don’t fight back — escalating an argument won’t change their behavior. Instead, let the conversation come to an end; then meet with your colleague after you’ve had some time to reflect. Explain how their actions make you feel. You might say: “When we’re on different sides of an issue, you assert your views so strongly that I shut down. It would help me to know that you’re hearing my views too, even if we don’t agree.” . Managers should consider how company culture may be contributing to the problem, too. If your culture prizes certainty or is especially competitive, the person’s behavior is probably to be expected. Help the team dynamic by asking everyone to come to discussions with both pros and cons about the topic. That will ensure no one can cling to one point of view. — Adapted from “How to Work with Someone Who Thinks They’re Always Right,” by Ron Carucci. Artist credit: C. J. BURTON/GETTY IMAGES
Self-awareness helps us recognize our bad habits at work. But being aware of your less-than-ideal behavior is only half the battle; you need to use that knowledge to improve. Think about a situation where you might need to change your approach. When are you less effective than you’d like? When do your usual methods fall flat? Next, consider why your approach isn’t working and what you could try instead. Then make a plan for the next time you’re in that situation, and practice beforehand. For example, if you talk too much in meetings, reflect on why. Do you just like your ideas a lot? Do you need others’ approval? Do you lose track of how long you’ve been speaking? Then make your plan. Maybe you’ll limit yourself to speaking twice per meeting, or you’ll wear a watch to time your contributions. These new behaviors may not feel comfortable at first — which is why it’s important to practice them. — Adapted from “How to Move from Self-Awareness to Self-Improvement,” by Jennifer Porter. Artist credit: JONATHAN KNOWLES/GETTY IMAGES.
To understand the discouraging state of cybersecurity, consider the stats above, based on surveys conducted with companies around the globe. The chart shows the average annual number of targeted cyber attacks and breaches per company in 2017 and 2018. Although the proportion of attacks that were thwarted rose to 87% in 2018, firms saw roughly the same number of breaches. This means that companies are spending more and more just to tread water. Experts believe that this number will not fall substantially, because attacks will keep increasing. Spending, too, is likely to keep rising. . Given all this, companies should consider whether the gains realized by having multiple systems online are worth the risks. A new school of thought holds that it’s time to unplug critical systems whose breaches could have dire consequences. Yes, companies would “pay” in terms of convenience and efficiency — but would that price exceed the ever-climbing cost of fending off attacks without making a dent in breaches? — Adapted from "Security Trends by the Numbers," by Scott Berinato and Matthew Perry.
Why are business ecosystems suddenly such a hot topic? It’s not as though they’re a new idea. The term “ecosystem” has been used in business for 20 years. What’s changed is that most of today’s fastest-growing companies — from Amazon and Google, to Alibaba and Tencent, to Uber and WeWork — are explicitly positioning themselves as ecosystem players, as hubs within networks of customers, suppliers, and producers of complementary services. We don’t yet know if these so-called ecosystem orchestrators have an enduring advantage. For every Google or Tencent that is hugely profitable, there is a Spotify, a WeWork or an Uber that continues to lose money. But regardless of how successful they prove to be, it’s important to understand that they are playing by a different set of strategy rules than traditional firms. They don’t care much for the logic of competitive advantage. Rather, they want to get as many players involved in their ecosystem as possible, and to get them interacting according to rules they have shaped. — Adapted from "Ecosystem Businesses Are Changing the Rules of Strategy," by Julian Birkinshaw. Artist credit: PATRIZIA SAVARESE/GETTY IMAGES
If you’ve ever lost your temper at work, you might just want to chalk it up to a bad day and move on. However, others likely won’t be so quick to forget. To repair your reputation, you’ll need to approach the situation with humility and intention. First, take an honest look at yourself. Was this a one-time experience, or something that you’ve done before? If losing your temper is out of the norm, people will likely see it as something that was caused by situational factors. In that case, a sincere apology may be enough. However, if it’s something that you do on a regular basis, you’ll have a much steeper road ahead. Apologize as soon as possible after the occurrence, so you can lessen the amount of time that others stew about it. To reduce the odds of losing your temper in the future, you should also try to identify the factors that contributed to it. Do you need to do a better job of managing your stress? Do you tend to lash out when you feel vulnerable? Are there specific people who frustrate you? Once you determine the cause, you’ll put yourself in a position to respond more constructively in the future. — Adapted from “You Just Lost Your Temper at Work. Now What?” by Patricia Thompson. Artist credit: C.J. BURTON/GETTY IMAGES
Are your employees scared of you? Research indicates that they probably are — even if you think you’re approachable. And if employees are afraid to speak up, engagement suffers, learning moments go unrecognized, misconduct goes unquestioned, and innovations go unrealized. To better gauge your intimidation factor, consider the following tips. First, understand how labels influence how people view you. Ask: What implied meanings come with my professional title or the descriptors people use (think everything from “boss” to “high potential” )? Second, become aware of your unintentional facial expressions that might scare people. Third, moderate how you respond to being challenged or questioned. Finally, don’t just say “my door is always open.” If people are scared of you, no one will take you up on your invitation. Instead, be direct and specific when asking for feedback. — Adapted from “Managers, You’re More Intimidating Than You Think,” by Megan Reitz and John Higgins. Artist credit: DOUGE PHOTO STUDIO/GETTY IMAGES
Work four days a week, and get paid for five? It may sound too good to be true. But this debate is front and center within numerous European economies — not only because of a culture shift toward accommodating flexible working, but also because some evidence suggests it’s good for business. To learn more, researchers surveyed 505 business leaders and more than 2,000 employees in the UK to better understand the impact of the shorter week on Britain’s modern workforce. Half of the UK business leaders surveyed reported that they’ve enabled a four-day workweek for some or all of their full-time employees, noting that employee satisfaction has improved, employee sickness has reduced, and savings of almost £92 billion are being made each year. Among workers, 77% identified a clear link between the four-day week and a better quality of life. . At the same time, there were some negatives. Nearly three-quarters of leaders cited concerns: regulations regarding work contracts, and the associated bureaucracy to implement the four-day week, as well as challenges around staffing. These elements make it unlikely that the practice will spread en masse in the near future. — Adapted from “Will the 4-Day Workweek Take Hold in Europe?” by Ben Laker and Thomas Roulet. Artist credit: SHANA NOVAK/GETTY IMAGES
Should you tap a digital expert to lead your company’s digital transformation? Research on companies that chose this kind of expert identified a common pattern: Although gurus may understand how to create a digital business from scratch, they often fail because they don’t understand the constraints of an established business. Here’s how this often plays out: Their downfall starts as soon as they start broadcasting their vision without grasping the needs of leaders, customers, and operations. This is typically followed by a period when the expert castigates the rest of the company for slowness and inertia, culminating in spinning digital off into a separate unit where the team has the freedom to create what it envisions. In the end, it is usually too disconnected from the core organization to succeed. By contrast, when the researchers looked at insiders with little digital experience who were placed at the head of digital initiatives, they succeeded about 80% of the time. Why? Because, ultimately, digital transformation is as much about organization change as it is about technology. — Adapted from “Don’t Put a Digital Expert in Charge of Your Digital Transformation” by Nathan Furr ET AL. Artist credit: SHANA NOVAK/GETTY IMAGES
Millennials only want to communicate with coworkers via text — and Baby Boomers don’t text. And you need to attract those tech-y Millennials with promises of flexible work schedules, but their older counterparts all want a traditional workday, right? Actually, wrong. There’s very little evidence that people of different generations behave differently at work, or want different things. Yet because we have stereotypes about people of different ages — and because we have stereotypes about what we think people of different ages believe about us — our ability to collaborate and learn from each other is negatively affected. . In one study, for example, when trainers believed that they were teaching an older person how to do a computer task, they had lower expectations and provided worse training than when they believed they were teaching a young person. To counteract these stereotypes, managers need to talk openly about them; emphasize the commonalities and shared goals all employees have; and recognize that employees’ needs change over time in ways that don’t align with generational misconceptions. — Adapted from “Generational Differences At Work Are Small. Thinking They’re Big Affects Our Behavior,” by Eden King ET AL. Artist credit: STEVEN HEAP/EYE EM/GETTY IMAGES
As important as it is to say “no” to requests that aren’t a great use of our time and energy, many of us feel dread when we have to do it. Saying no is hard because we are a species that treats agreement as affection and denial as rejection. It may be unavoidable that others will be disappointed by your response, but there are some things you can do to help. Don’t simply say “no” — share the reasoning behind your decision and the values that motivate your conclusion. If you don’t, others will fill the vacuum you leave with their fears and biases. Also let others know you sympathize with the values your position compromises. Decisions are rarely as simple as black and white, right and wrong; they typically involve value trade-offs. Finally, it’s important to take a firm stand, but not an overstated one. You alienate more than you convince when you make absolute statements like “The only reasonable conclusion we can draw is…” or “The right answer is…” Show that you’re a thoughtful person who has arrived at a conclusion. — Adapted from “How to Say ‘No’ at Work Without Making Enemies,” by Joseph Grenny. Artist credit: MIRAGEC/GETTY IMAGES
Company culture exerts a powerful influence on our behavior. In some cases that power can turn toxic, driving us to compromise our values and do things we normally wouldn’t. You probably can’t change a toxic culture on your own, but there are steps you can take to insulate yourself from its effects. First, figure out the kind of environment you need to be effective — and happy — at work. Ask yourself: Which of your values have fallen by the wayside? Do you feel healthy and content? Are you proud of how you behave toward colleagues? Next, talk to your teammates about the culture you all wish you had. Ask what’s important to them at work and how company norms have affected their behavior. Then talk about establishing and committing to a team “microculture” based on everyone’s shared values. The microculture may not fix the company’s broader issues, but it can encourage your team members to resist the negative pressures they face in their jobs. — Adapted from “Keep Your Company’s Toxic Culture from Infecting Your Team,” by Annie McKee
Is one generation being overlooked for promotions at a higher rate than other generations? New research says “yes.” One study analyzing data from over 25,000 leaders found that, in the past five years, the majority of Gen X leaders have received only one promotion or none at all — significantly fewer than their Millennial and Baby Boomer counterparts, who were more likely to receive two or more promotions during the same period of time. And although Gen X leaders aren’t being rewarded with promotions as often, they are bearing the brunt of the workload. As a result, 40% of Gen X leaders who have advanced to higher-level management roles say they are contemplating leaving to advance their careers. . Companies who don't want to risk losing many of their highest-performing leaders can do three things to help: . 1 ) Personalize learning and development. This is essential in a multigenerational workforce, because even within each generation, individual skills and development needs vary widely. . 2 ) Provide Gen X leaders with more external guidance. Help them participate in industry conferences and other groups to foster relationships with mentors who can provide coaching and help reignite passion for their careers. . 3 ) Use data to add objectivity in hiring and promotions. Assessments that measure leadership capability and potential can help organizations objectively spot people who have the right skills for the job rather than trusting managers’ instincts alone. — Adapted from “Are Companies About the Have a Gen X Retention Problem?” by Stephanie Neal. Artist credit: CHRIS STEIN/GETTY IMAGES
If your boss habitually betrays you, your best bet is to get out from under them as soon as possible. Until then, do whatever you must to protect yourself and keep their bad behavior from negatively affecting you and your work. First, be clear on the values you want to govern your behavior and resolute on what you believe compromising them constitutes. How you show respect to others, how you share ideas, and how you give credit are all informed by this. Next, never accept your boss’s behavior as normal. It’s common for people who tolerate abusive behavior to eventually conclude they deserve it. But you don’t. Resist this by detecting your boss’s patterns of betrayal and interrupting them as much as possible. Finally, don’t repress your negative emotions. Journaling or seeking guidance from a mental health professional can provide you with a healthy outlet. — Adapted from “What to Do When Your Boss Betrays You,” by Ron Carucci. Artist credit: XEFSTOCK/GETTY IMAGES
What are we really searching for when we say we want more “meaning” at work? And how does it differ from happiness? Recent research tells us there are five key distinctions: . 1 ) Getting what you want or need: While happiness correlates with having your desires satisfied; meaning does not. The frequency of our good and bad feelings is irrelevant to meaning, which can flourish even in very forbidding conditions. . 2 ) Time frame: While happiness relates directly to the here and now, meaning comes from assembling past, present, and future into some kind of coherent story. . 3 ) Social life: Connections to others is important for both happiness and meaning, but helping other people leads to meaning, while having others help you leads to happiness. . 4 ) Challenges: Stress, strife, and struggles reduce happiness, but are part of a meaningful life. . 5 ) Personal identity: An important source of meaning is actions or activities that allow you to express yourself. But they’re mostly irrelevant where happiness is concerned. How do you try to find meaning at work? — Adapted from “Why You Should Stop Trying to Be Happy at Work,” by Susan Peppercorn. Artist credit: BRYAN MULLENNIX/GETTY IMAGES
What are the best strategies for increasing the ranks of women in CEO roles? Generally speaking, a public company’s board of directors must identify qualified women to be included in the candidate pool — and the historical pattern has been to require that candidates have prior CEO experience. This creates an obvious problem: Because there are so few female CEOs, there are few female candidates in that talent pool. But new data suggests corporate boards have been finding a creative way out of this chicken-and-egg dilemma. Specifically, they seem to have relaxed the prior-CEO-experience requirement for women and are using prior corporate board service as a proxy qualification. . When researchers compared men’s and women’s paths to the CEO job, they found that women were significantly more likely to have served on a corporate board than men. And, for those recruited from the outside, women were much less likely than men to have had a CEO job in the past. This finding suggests that corporate boards may consider a combination of senior executive roles and corporate board experience to approximate prior CEO experience. It also suggests that companies wishing to groom women for C-suite roles should help high-potential women find outside board seats — and that ambitious women should seek board experience. — Adapted from “Research: Board Experience Is Helping More Women Get CEO Jobs,” by Catherine H. Tinsley and Kate Purmal.
Do you prioritize time or money? In 2015 and 2016, researchers asked this question of 1,000 graduating college students in Canada. They found that — regardless of their parents’ wealth or how much they cared about owning fancy things — those who valued time chose career paths that made them happier one to two years later. This isn’t because they worked less; it’s because they were more likely to focus on how gratifying their future career might be and chose jobs they actually enjoyed. Though the study was exclusive to college grads, there is a lesson we can all learn from the findings: When we are deciding whether to take a job, most of us focus too much on salary and prestige and not enough on enjoyment. Of course, sometimes we need to choose the better-paying job and sacrifice having more time to socialize with our friends and family. But when we have the ability to prioritize one over the other, the data is clear: Valuing time is likely to bring us greater joy both in the moment and in the long term. — Adapted from "Are New Graduates Happier Making More Money or Having More Time?" by Ashley Whillans. Artist credit: Virojt Changyencham/Getty Images
Your role at work is an important anchor: It grounds you in your tasks and helps you know how to relate to others and to the organization. But when you bring most of yourself to your role —your experience, training, abilities, knowledge, effort, quirks, and passions — you can start to feel as though you and your job are one in the same. When this happens, it can weaken your judgment and cause you to take criticisms and decisions made at work personally. Over time, this pattern can cause you to conflate your role with self-worth, thinking that you’re only as valuable and useful as the person you are at work. . In fact, you are more than just your job. Learning to identify less with your role can help you take professional roadblocks and rejections in stride, achieving a level of resilience that enables your to perform well while maintaining a healthy sense of self. — Adapted from “When Your Job Is Your Identity, Your Professional Failure Hurts More,” by Timothy O’Brien. Artist credit: NICHOLAS EVELEIGH/GETTY IMAGES
How do effective bosses spur innovation on their teams? One useful exercise is to create a “change notebook.” Here’s how it works: At your next team meeting, pull out a pad of paper, turn to an empty page, and divide it into three columns. Each one corresponds to a question relevant to innovation: (1 ) What’s the way we’ve always done it at our organization? (2 ) What market shifts, external forces, or technologies might threaten the elements of our operational status quo? (3 ) What can we do about these impending disruptions? If you create a discussion around these items on a routine basis, everyone will become more aware of change and more creative about staying ahead of it. — Adapted from "A Brief Exercise to Spur Innovation on Your Team," by Sydney Finkelstein. Artist credit: SHANA NOVAK/GETTY IMAGES
Interviews have an outsize influence on whether you land a job. That’s why you need to stand out. To best prepare, be mindful of these three things recruiters generally look for: . First, they want to know what you’re like to work with, so treat the interview like an opportunity for you to get to know one another. You and the recruiter will then share the same goal, and your meeting becomes a joint problem-solving effort: Do we want to work together? . Second, they want to know whether you can learn. That means if you don’t know the answer to a question, you shouldn’t fake it. Instead, demonstrate how you might think the issue through to show how you handle challenges and demonstrate that you’re open to new things. . Finally, they want to know that you can take initiative. The best way to prove this is to arrive prepared. Have a very clear idea of what the company does, its history, its strengths, and its weaknesses. You should also practice by role playing the interview with a friend ahead of time. This will help you notice any gaps in your knowledge. — Adapted from "3 Questions Hiring Managers Want You to Answer," by Art Markman. Artist credit: DIANE LABOMBARBE/GETTY IMAGES
When a company dominates its market, do employees benefit? It’s a timely question, as a full 75% of U.S. industries have become more concentrated since the 1990s and the average size of the largest players in the economy has tripled. One potential concern with this rise in industry concentration is that it reduces workers’ employment options and gives companies the ability to set whatever wages they want. However, some research also suggests that when firms make outsized profits — as they might when they have a large piece of the market — they share some of it with their workers. Which of these effects is more significant? It depends on the industry and the type of work. A new study finds that workers in finance may see higher wages when the industry becomes more concentrated. People in other industries, however, don’t. — Adapted from "When a Company Dominates Its Market, Do Employees Benefit?" by Wenting Ma. Artist credit: JUPITERIMAGES/GETTY IMAGES
If you sense that a lie you told at work — whether it was spinning information, denying a mistake, embellishing data, or exaggerating a contribution — has backfired, there are a few ways you can earn back some credibility. First, try to figure out the degree to which others have withdrawn their trust. If your opinion is being solicited less, or you are no longer invited to meetings in your area of expertise, your reputation may be in question. Once you understand the conclusions people have drawn about you, practice behaviors that challenge them. If you denied a mistake and your humility is now in question, for example, genuine expressions of self-doubt can help remind people that your integrity is still intact. You should also reflect on why you were dishonest in the first place. Underneath our lies are often unmet needs that we’re trying to satisfy. Identifying those needs will help you find healthier ways to fulfill them next time. — Adapted from “What to Do When You’re Caught in a Lie (Even an Unintentional One ),” by Ron Carucci. Artist credit: CHRIS COLLINS/GETTY IMAGES
When your life is disrupted by a big event — a job change, a baby, a relative’s illness — how do you maintain your focus and well-being? Add some stability to an unstable time by making sure you have habits that align with your long-term goals. Think about the five to 10 things you need to do every week to keep your life on track, and write a list of them. Many critical habits fall into one of four areas: personal reflection, professional reflection, relationships, and health (both physical and mental ). You should also think about how you’ll create accountability for yourself. Will you post the list where you’ll see it often? Use an app to set reminders? Check in with a friend each week? Creating and reinforcing habits this way can assure you that you’re doing what you need to — no matter how many things you’re juggling. Adapted from “When Life Gets Busy, Focus on a Few Key Habits,” by Jackie Coleman and John Coleman.
Artificial intelligence is now guiding decisions on everything from crop harvests to bank loans. Totally automated customer service is on the horizon. Yet many companies are still struggling to scale up their AI efforts. How can firms capture the full opportunity AI presents? The key isn’t the technology; it’s understanding the organizational and cultural barriers AI initiatives face, and working to lower them. That means shifting workers away from traditional mindsets, like relying on top-down decision making, which often run counter to those needed for AI. Leaders can also set up AI projects for success by conveying their urgency and benefits; investing heavily in AI education and adoption; and accounting for the company’s AI maturity, business complexity, and innovation pace when deciding how work should be organized. Companies that do this will find themselves at an advantage in a world where humans and machines working together outperform either humans or machines working on their own. — Adapted from “The AI-Powered Organization,” by Tim Fountaine ET. AL. Artist credit: LEONARDO ULIAN
“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” This is a nice idea, but a total myth. When we equate the work we enjoy with “not really working,” it propagates a belief that if we love it so much, we should do more of it. But this mentality leads to burnout, and the impact on our mental health can be profound. So, what can leaders do to prevent it in their own organizations? Teach people that setting healthy boundaries is OK. That it's actually selfless — not selfish — because it allows you to be more effective at what you do, and to better help those you wish to help. Ultimately, everyone wants to go home to our personal lives feeling inspired and fueled by a day of passionate engagement in purposeful work. This is clearly preferable to monotony and boredom (which can also cause burnout ). But you have to be careful: When it feels like your passion for work (or that of your employees ) has become all-consuming, it might be time to take (or to offer ) a break. — Adapted from “When Passion Leads to Burnout,” by Jennifer Moss. Artist credit: ITO AKIHIRO/GETTY IMAGES
Public speaking. Attending a networking event. Confronting a coworker. These are uncomfortable tasks, but sometimes need to be performed for us to grow professionally. So how do you move out of your comfort zone? First, be honest with yourself. You can't overcome inaction if you don't understand your motives. The next time you turn down an opportunity, ask yourself why — and answer candidly. Next, take ownership over the behavior or task that scares you by sculpting it in a way that minimizes discomfort. For example, if you hate speaking in front of large crowds, look for opportunities with smaller groups. You can also try putting mechanisms into place that will force you to face your fears — like taking a class that requires you to give presentations, or attend ice breaker events with peers. You might discover that what you initially feared isn’t as bad as you thought. — Adapted from “If You’re Not Outside Your Comfort Zone, You Won’t Learn Anything,” by Andy Molinsky.
Joy connects people more powerfully than almost any other human experience. It’s a feeling we intrinsically seek out. But at work, there’s a disconnect: While 90% of people say they expect to find joy, only 37% actually feel it on the job. . To increase these numbers, companies should take a cue from sports: When a team performs at its awe-inspiring best, overcoming its limitations and challenges, players experience joy, which furthers their success. This joy is made up of three key factors, all of which can be cultivated in organizations. . 1 ) Harmony. On winning teams, each player has a distinct role in achieving the goal. When the skills and strengths of teammates click, feelings of joy are the result. . 2 ) Impact. Team harmony leads to impact, which further fuels joy. Even if the result is just a single sublime play, the palpable joy of each teammate rises. They say to each other, “Can you believe we did that?” . 3 ) Acknowledgment. Great coaches encourage their players to immediately point to the teammates who created a scoring opportunity. Acknowledging everyone’s contributions powers the entire joy-success-joy cycle. — Adapted from “Making Joy a Priority at Work,” by Alex Liu.
Fifteen years of research reveals that trust is less fragile than we think. Companies can be trusted in some ways — but not in others — and still succeed. Facebook failed to safeguard users’ data. Volkswagen cheated on emissions tests. Boeing neglected to disclose safety issues. Yet, all of these companies are still in business. How have they survived? . Understanding these five popular myths about trust can provide more insight into how companies are able to build and rebuild trust. . Myth 1: “Trust has no boundaries.” Trust is actually limited, and involves narrow relationships between the trusted party, the trusting party, and the action the trusted party is expected to perform. . Myth 2: “Trust is objective.” In reality, trust is subjective. Trust is based on the judgment of people and groups, not on some universal code of good conduct. . Myth 3: “Trust is managed via a company’s external image.” In most cases, trust is managed from the inside out, by running a good business. It isn’t all about PR. . Myth 4: “Companies are judged on their purpose.” In truth, companies are judged on both their purpose and their impact. . Myth 5: “Trust is fragile. Once it’s lost, it can’t be regained.” Trust waxes and wanes. Companies that view their shortcomings as an opportunity to transform themselves will be more likely to rebuild it. — Adapted from “The Trust Crisis,” by Sandra J. Sucher and Shalene Gupta. Artist credit: @stuartbradford
You’re perpetually exhausted, annoyed, and feeling unaccomplished and unappreciated. You’re burned out, and everything in you wants to quit your job. But is that the best choice? . Before you make a decision, understand the major causes of burnout and consider changes you can make to overcome them. . 1 ) A heavy workload. First ask how well you’re doing in these key areas: planning your workload, prioritizing your work, delegating tasks, saying no, and letting go of perfectionism. . 2 ) A lack of control. Do you lack autonomy, access to resources, and a say in decisions? Is it possible to discuss the issue with your boss? . 3 ) A faulty reward system. Ask what you would need to feel properly appreciated, and whether there is an opportunity to receive it. . 4 ) An unsupportive community. Have you tried improving the dynamic between you and your colleagues, to no avail? If so, you may want to consider a job change. . 5 ) A biased culture. Sometimes people are unaware of their biases or won’t take action until you ask for what you want. So speak up and see what happens. . 6 ) A mismatch in values. Think carefully about how important it is for your values to match with those of the organization. Then make a decision based on your answer. — Adapted from "6 Causes of Burnout, and How to Avoid Them," by Elizabeth Grace Saunders. Artist credit: BRYAN MULLENNIX/GETTY IMAGES
As a manager, it’s your job to give your employees feedback that will help them grow. If you’re failing to do so, ask yourself why. Here are some common reasons, and how you can address them: . “My employee is doing fine, they don’t need feedback.” To see this person do better than ‘fine,’ you need to set the bar higher. Let them know what you appreciate about their work, but share how you think they can push themselves to go above and beyond. . “My employee doesn’t take feedback well.” Examine why you think this. Do you have concrete evidence? If so, start giving feedback on how this person can receive it better. Use examples to justify your concerns, and suggest what they can do differently. . “My employee isn’t capable of change.” Your mindset is the problem. It’s your job to provide this person with the resources and opportunities to change. Think of it as a challenge for yourself, and for them. Give feedback regularly. Believe that they will welcome, and rise to, that challenge. — Adapted from “The Assumptions Employees Make When They Don’t Get Feedback,” by Deborah Grayson Riegel. Artist credit: RETALES BOTIJERO/GETTY IMAGE