People Management

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Read the obituaries for fun and profit

August 16, 2017
James Galton died at age 92 on June 12, 2017. He ran Marvel Comics Group from 1975 to 1991, earning a reputation as a strategic genius and all-around nice guy.

Give people metrics to focus on

August 14, 2017
Rob Hale, founder and CEO of Quincy, Mass.-based Granite Telecommunications, often insists that his company has the best customer service in the telecommunications industry. He backs it up by setting high standards and educating employees about his favorite measures—and why they matter so much.

When employees ask for too much

July 26, 2017
Q. I’m amazed by the demands my employees make. It never stops. They want to work from home. They want more time off (one guy requested a three-month sabbatical!). I never expected being a supervisor would require fending off constant outlandish requests. What can I do?

A thoughtful response to a failure

July 20, 2017
As a young manager at Johnson & Johnson, Jim Burke developed a therapeutic chest rub for children. The product launched to great fanfare—and failed miserably.

Proclaim the what, not the how

July 13, 2017
Clarity and leadership go together. Communicate clear directions and give your team the leeway to find ways to advance toward the goal.

Never give an order that…

June 27, 2017
Issue a command that people disregard because you’ve allowed them too much power to write their own rules and your demise as a leader will be slower and more painful.

Trust and train your people

June 18, 2017
How can ordinary people perform effectively in complex and dangerous situations?

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.
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