People Management

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When motivation no longer does the trick

May 23, 2017
Q. For years, we’ve motivated our sales and service folks with incentives. Our culture is built around contests, fun competitions for bonuses or other prizes and recognition. But the last few contests have produced acrimony. Those who don’t win gripe about the rules and resent the winners. Are we motivating the wrong way?

5 questions to test your culture

May 21, 2017
Trying to motivate employees with games, incentives and pizza parties might work to some extent. But lasting results only come from fully engaged staffers who believe in the organizational culture.

4 ways to forge lasting bonds

May 19, 2017
When employees trust each other and their supervisors, they collaborate more freely and communicate more forthrightly. Rumors don’t spread. There’s less malicious gossip. And people root for each other’s success.

How about this to control meetings?

May 16, 2017
Zealous Puritan Oliver Cromwell, ruthless dictator and lord protector of England in the 17th century, sure knew how to minimize meetings.

Listening: It’s complicated

May 16, 2017
Even if you want to listen well, many obstacles stand in the way. It’s not enough to tell yourself, “I’m just not very good at listening.” Armed with that excuse, you won’t try as hard to concentrate on what you hear.

Hold meetings with fewer distractions

May 11, 2017
Q. During our staff meetings, it’s rare that employees look up at me. Instead of paying attention, they’re glancing at their phones or typing away on their laptops. I’ve set ground rules, but they ignore them. Any ideas?

A CEO’s charm offensive nets grads

May 5, 2017
Once or twice a month, Policinski serves as a guest lecturer in college business courses. As he discusses strategy with students and guides them through case studies, he also subtly promotes Land O’Lakes as a strong performer with a solid history of growth.

Employees don’t think their supervisor is so super

April 26, 2017
Q. One of my supervisors rubs people the wrong way. Some colleagues complain that her comments bother them—and that she subtly cuts them down. What can I do to address the situation? I’m not even sure how to explain the problem to her, much less propose a solution.

Plug gap between desired and real performance

April 13, 2017
Q. There’s a big gap between the desired performance that I’d like from people—and their actual output. Apparently, I demand too much (at least that’s what I hear from employee engagement surveys). What am I supposed to do? Lower my standards?

The ‘work laugh’ is real

April 11, 2017
In two experiments led by Christopher Oveis of the University of California at San Diego, high-status individuals had different laughs than low-status individuals, and strangers could tell the difference.
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