Workplace Communication

In an era of Casual Fridays and work-from-home colleagues, how can you maintain effective office communication in a changing business climate?

We’ll steer you through changes in business etiquette, and help you successfully navigate through the new realities of workplace conflict and office politics.

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Kelly Slater’s older brother used to turn everything into a contest, and he always made sure Kelly lost. That, coupled with their drunken father and angry mother, forged Kelly Slater into a fierce competitor and a wild man on a surfboard.
Sure, you want a hard-charging successor to continue your work. But you also want someone who leads with compassion and loyalty to someone other than himself. You don’t want a narcissist succeeding you. Run your protégé through this gantlet to see how he scores on the narcissist scale.
What are the most common foibles that cause promising leaders to fail? These are the traps that can bring you down:
It often happens that a leader’s early life tells volumes about his character. Here’s a story from U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., about his first job at a grocery store in Stotesbury, W.Va., a mining town where he’d worked his way up to meat cutter in 1935.
You’ve probably heard of “Occam’s Razor,” the maxim that says you should heed the simplest answer to a difficult question. But who is or was Occam and why should you care?
Ping Fu’s first 23 years were marked by imprisonment and torture in China, first as a child and later for dutifully researching, as assigned, the country’s epidemic of infanticide. Locked for days alone in utter darkness, she hoped her execution would be quick. Instead, officials exiled her to America.
When he spoke at the opening of his 1964 trial, Nelson Mandela never denied that he planned sabotage against the white South African government. In fact, he painstakingly explained his rationale for violence, having concluded that peaceful means to gaining civil rights for blacks were not working.
Germany’s new chancellor, Angela Merkel, already is showing skill as a conciliator in piecing together her coalition government from an array of bitter rivals. A big part of that skill rests on her mastery of communication: Merkel doesn’t seek attention, but when she’s got it, she speaks the bitter truth—die bittere Wahrheit, in German—without being abrasive.
One of the most common blunders leaders make is ignoring the obvious. Three ways to avoid that fate:
You’ll know you’ve made it as a leader when your enemies sit up and take notice. In the case of U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, his enemies’ kinder labels for him include “New York’s other liberal senator” and “perhaps the key Democrat” on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which played a major role in vetting President Bush’s two recent successful Supreme Court nominations.
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