The Simple Mistake You’re Making in Delivering Feedback That You Can Fix Today

Nobody likes giving negative feedback or delivering potentially disappointing news to a direct report. And while many individual contributors know that they actually need negative feedback to get better at their jobs, they typically don’t relish the idea of finding out that they’re falling short of expectations. Nevertheless, negative feedback– when delivered carefully and thoughtfully– can help individuals and teams course correct, […]

Don’t Fidget

Some years back, Ellen was teaching a two-day presentation skills class and one of her students had a big moustache. A really big, “handlebar” moustache. A lighter-hued version of this: Now, the moustache itself was not a problem. The problem was that the student (let’s call him Snidely Whiplash) liked to twirl the ends of […]

3 Ways to Be a More Approachable Leader

You’re busy. You’re stressed. You’re overworked and under-resourced. It’s one thing to feel that way. It’s another thing to share those feelings with your colleagues honestly, openly, and without blaming others. Neither of those will likely undermine your impact and credibility as a leader. What will? Acting out on these feelings in a way that makes others reluctant, or even […]

The Standup Speaker

Before you read any further, take a few minutes (5:46, to be exact) to watch this YouTube video of 14-year-old standup comedian Dylan Roche. Isn’t he hilarious? He also provides very good examples of three elements that standup comics and public speakers have in common. 1. They both perform in front of a live audience. […]

How to Talk to Your Boss About Your Career Goals

People managers wear many hats: delegator, goal-setter, accountability-partner, brainstorming buddy, performance evaluator, obstacle-mover, resource-allocator, and more. (This, of course, is all in addition to their day jobs of actual work.) And there’s one critical role for managers that often doesn’t get addressed: career developer. According to research by Right Management, the global career and talent development expert within ManpowerGroup, only 16 […]

The World’s Worst Presenter

One of our favorite TV shows, Whose Line is it Anyway?, frequently includes a bit called “The World’s Worst . . .” in which the players must come up with various examples of the worst characteristics of a variety of professions. The world’s worst surgeon, for one example: (Player mimes performing an operation.) “Am I […]

3 Mistakes Managers Make During One-on-One Meetings

The late, great fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld once remarked, “I don’t do meetings.” And if you were Karl Lagerfeld, you didn’t have to. For the rest of us, however, meetings are a part of getting work done, even if they often feel like an interruption of our real work. No matter what you think of meetings in general, having regular, focused, and productive one-on-one conversations […]