Banish Soft Skills At Work

We need to banish soft skills at work. I’m not talking about the concept but the term. It’s misleading and counterproductive, making the underlying skills sound as if they are pointless, wasteful frills. Yet, any respected leader will tell you it’s the “soft skills” that distinguish effective leaders from outstanding operational producers or, at the management level, distrusted tyrants. Check any of the online dictionaries, and

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Shakespeare on Values, Accountability and Leadership

I just read and watched William Shakespeare’s history play, Henry V. The story tells how Henry V led his Army through France in 1415, defeating a much larger force at Agincourt. Written in 1599, Shakespeare did not use the terms accountability, leadership or values; yet we can learn a lot about them from his drama. The good news is that Henry V’s accomplishments — without

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Three Pieces to the Retaliation Puzzle

A friend recently sent me a blog post advising employees how to diplomatically raise ethical workplace issues. Doing so may help prevent career damage and, in some instances, allow the problem to be investigated and resolved. The same week, I read an article written by a labor and employment lawyer who discussed how to avoid retaliation claims in terms of what is said and documented,

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Dealing with Bullies in a Different Kind of Workplace: Schools

Imagine that you go to work every day and are taunted to your face and called hurtful names by groups of your co-workers. Unrelenting insults and threats come blasting into your cell phone. You’re yelled at and mocked in front of your colleagues. Your manager sees some of this happen and asks you if you’re OK; you mumble “yes.” Later, you tell your leader you

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A Simple Solution for Preventing Retaliation

As I recently wrote, EEOC retaliation claims are on the rise. In fact, through last year, they represented the most frequently filed type of charge alleging illegal conduct. The EEOC and the statutes it enforces are only one source for such claims. Across the federal spectrum, a range of other laws prohibit retaliation, as do many state, local, and other administrative protections. Many of these

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Complexity Squashes Ethics – Fight Back with Simplicity

We’ve made ethics, compliance, and daily behavioral standards too complex. By trying to convey too much, we accomplish too little. We need to simplify messages, repeat them to make them memorable, and cut through the clutter of information that confuses rather than clarifies our objectives. That’s my simple message; the rest of what follows is “proof.” We are all flooded with information, more than any

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