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Turn Your Underperformer into a Key Employee

Almost every leader out there has been in the unsavoury position of managing someone who believes their performance is terrific when it’s actually just mediocre at best. Recent studies in performance management have identified this as one of the most frequent and draining problems: the underperformer.

What causes the mismatch between these employees’ real output and their perceptions of success? Some may not be receiving the resources and clear feedback they need to develop and improve; others may be unable to recognize that they’re struggling. Whatever the cause, if leaders fail to address the situation, the lagging employee’s work will not improve, and the organization will lose the value of a team member who could thrive if given the proper support. Perhaps a more insidious risk is that the leader will appear to condone substandard work, and competent employees may become demotivated and disengage. But if you can identify the likely cause of an underperformer and his or her lack of self-awareness, these five approaches will help you correct the problem behaviours — or understand whether that’s even possible.

Expectations must be clear

A non-profit client had a congenial work environment and a cultural commitment to understanding each other’s needs. The board chair was exasperated by the lack of results from a particular VP, who believed she was doing fine because she was making an effort. The board chair reminded the VP’s manager, a senior executive, that he was responsible for ensuring results. The manager reinforced performance objectives with the VP, but because he didn’t want to blame her or hurt her feelings, didn’t explain the harm to the organization or the fact that her job was in jeopardy. He continued to lose confidence in the VP and eventually reduced her duties as an indirect way of acknowledging her lack of progress. Both the board chair and the manager later acknowledged that no one had been direct enough with her about her performance problems.

Employees require resources and support

Most employees need leadership, mentoring, and strong supervision in order to develop, particularly if they’re stepping into a function that’s new to the company or are promoted to fill an absence in the organisation. If their natural skills are insufficient to meet the requirements of their role and responsibilities, they may not even perceive what their deficits are.

A client company promoted a director to cover the gap left by the sudden departure of an executive two levels up. No one in the senior leadership evaluated the new director’s development needs, despite the fact that he was suddenly responsible for large numbers of people performing varied jobs. The new director assumed he was doing well by virtue of the promotion. But because this more complex job couldn’t be managed like his old one, the director became a burned-out micromanager, creating operating bottlenecks and severe employee dissatisfaction.

Determine whether the individual is worth the time & resources investment

If you’re not, it’s much more practical to reduce your expectations. In response to increasing frustration with a VP who consistently talked a great game but whose results over several years were always just shy of their target, a CEO eventually reassigned some of the riskier and sexier aspects of the VP’s job to another executive. The VP was offended, but stayed — and from an underperformer he became more successful given the reduced scope of responsibilities.

Discover whether they’ll accept help

It’s emotionally draining to keep faking success or status that’s not legitimate. In contrast to the people who experience imposter syndrome, many others fall victim to the Dunning-Krueger effect, a cognitive bias that prevents people from recognising how badly they’re performing and that they need help. A mid-level administrator at a client organisation resented the suggestion that his skills needed to improve and ignored the coaching that was offered to him. He found fault with everyone who questioned him and began setting up his colleagues, undercutting them, and misrepresenting their contributions and concerns. When these actions came to light, the business was forced to let him given the fact that besides being an underperformer he also became a very toxic presence for the work environment.

Praise carefully

When an employee with an inflated sense of their own performance delivers high-quality work or conducts an interaction well, it’s important to praise them. But letting the praise stand alone can encourage them to think that everything they do is outstanding. Connect your positive comments to other things you want them to address. For example, you could say, “Now that you’ve done so well with the ABC presentation, for the next one, I’d like you to also [do the next thing they need to improve]. It’s important because…” Make sure you’re clear about both the necessary new behaviour and why it’s required as part of satisfactory job performance. They may still think too highly of themselves, but doing this gives you a better chance of getting the crucial behaviours you need.

Helping an unaware underperformer be more realistic about their work requires a lot of attention and involvement. Understanding what’s driving their lack of awareness will either help you determine what support they need in order to improve, or confirm your assessment that they just might not be able to satisfy the requirements of the job. Managing one underperformer or more isn’t easy, and it can make you feel like you just lost the employee lottery. But with a little patience and self-awareness, you may find that there are some ways that you can better help those struggling on your team—and maybe even turn them into a success story.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

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Sources:

https://modus.medium.com/the-skilled-managers-guide-to-dealing-with-underperformers-dd0386c6893d
https://www.themuse.com/advice/6-signs-its-not-your-employee-whos-the-problem-its-you
https://www.vantageleadership.com/our-blog/dave-sowinski-on-dealing-with-underperformers-who-really-failed/

Forging the Perfect Productivity Workflow for You

The average person has 70,000 thoughts each day, and if you don’t learn to organise them, they have the potential to destroy your productivity.

When you allow the flurry of thoughts to run through your head, your mind becomes disorganised, and the more you ponder on intrusive thoughts, the more power you give them.

In a recent study conducted at the National Institute, in the United States, it was found that allowing your mind to be disorganised doesn’t just feel bad, it’s also actually bad for you. A disorganised mind leads to high stress, chronic negativity and impulsivity. These states inhibit productivity and contribute to a plethora of health problems such as weight gain, heart disease, sleep problems and migraine headaches just to name a few. Edward Hallowell, a therapist who helps people deal with their disorganised minds, describes the process that goes on inside this type of mind: “He makes impulsive judgments, angrily rushing to bring closure. He is robbed of his flexibility, his sense of humour, and his ability to deal with the unknown. He forgets the big picture and the goals and values he stands for. He loses his creativity and his ability to change plans.”

On the other hand, an organised mind simply falls into a state of flow. Flow is a state of balance where you really feel that you are immersed in your work, completely free from distractions. Recent research has shown that people working in a state of flow are five times more productive than the rest.

Step 1: Take Control Of Your Emotions

While it’s impossible to control how things make you feel, you have complete control over how you react to your emotions. First, you need to be honest with yourself about what you are feeling and why you are feeling it. From that point on, it is much easier to channel the emotion into producing the behaviour that you want. The key is to identify and label your emotions as you experience them. Associating words with what you are feeling makes the emotion tangible and less mysterious. This helps you relax, figure out what is behind your emotion and move forward.

Step 2: Sustain Your Focus

We all know that frustrating feeling of sitting down to tackle something important, only to quickly lose focus when we expected to dive right into the task. It takes time for your mind to become fully absorbed in an activity. Studies have shown that it takes five to 20 minutes before people start to focus. If you can force yourself to persist in the activity in spite of any distractions for 20 minutes, the chances are much higher that you will be able to sustain your focus and find a state of flow. The best way to do this is to put away or turn off all of your typical distractions (phones, email, social media), then keep an eye on the clock until you’ve done nothing but your task for a good 20 minutes, even if you aren’t getting much done.

Step 3: Take Breaks

Our brains and bodies simply aren’t wired for prolonged periods of work. While it might seem as though sitting at your desk for eight hours straight is the best way to get all of your work done, this can work against you. Research has shown that the most productive work cycle tends to be 52 minutes of uninterrupted work, followed by 17-minute breaks. While it probably isn’t realistic to structure your schedule this rigidly, for most people, the battle is won by just remembering to take breaks. Just be certain to pepper several short breaks throughout your day.

Step 4: Shift Sets

Once you’ve taken a break, you must shift your focus back to your task. No matter how ‘in the zone’ you were before taking a break, you’ll sometimes find that you’re back to square one when it comes to focusing. To do a proper set shift, you have to reorganise your thoughts by following steps one through four above, especially if you’re having trouble diving back into the task. You’ll discover that getting back into flow quickly after a break is very doable, but it must be done purposefully.

Remember that ‘flow friendly’ environments are not just a matter of mindful team management. Remember to exercise the state of being immersed in a given activity to improve your productivity and general well-being.

Want to get more inventive and satisfied with your work? Get engaged in things you like, meditate and train your ability to focus. Stay mentally active – sitting in front of the TV may not be the best start. Last and foremost, learn how to prioritise, even if you plan your activities outside the working hours.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2020/01/create-a-productivity-workflow-that-works-for-you

https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2016/04/19/5-ways-to-experience-flow-and-get-crazy-productive/#6b413b474e70

https://www.getresponse.com/blog/go-with-the-flow-and-pump-up-your-creative-productivity

Trends That Will Reshape Customer Service

Customer service has stopped being static a long time ago. Mobile phones have replaced landlines. Email edged out phones. To keep existing customers and attract new ones, you need cutting-edge customer service. For example, customers are four times more likely to make a purchase from a competitor after they have a problem that has not been addressed by the service system this according to research done by Bain & Company. However, customer-service overhauls aren’t cheap. In order to keep customers happy and customer service in tip-top shape companies will have to keep a close eye on some of the predicted trends for the next 5 years.

Over the past several years, boosting the customer service experience has caught and held businesses’ attention. After all, good customer service is the deciding factor in sales growth. This focus shift has resulted in a huge turnaround for companies once plagued by bad reputations and the less-than-stellar bottom line to prove it.

Successful organisations have put in work to meet and exceed customer demands, improve relationships, and deliver satisfaction all while maintaining requisite productivity and quality levels. Competitors are paying attention and upping their game accordingly.

For winning companies, their success comes down to software and tool investments as well as improved website functionality and the addition of staff members focused on optimised customer engagement.

The following lists the top five innovations in customer service those winning brands are adopting.

1. Social media are becoming mainstream channels

Thanks to an increase in on-demand video content in their personal lives, customers are more frequently asking for the same in the business world. As a result, more companies are doing less telling through text and more showing through interactive guides and customer service video content to get messages across.

Just 13% of consumers over the age of 55 have used social media for customer service purposes, a Microsoft study has revealed. On the other hand, 55% of people aged between 18 and 34 have reached companies at their social media accounts. Given the fact that millennials and generation Z make up a larger share of the existing market, social-media outreach is likely to make up more than half of your customer service requests.

It already is too late to put a social-media intern in charge of your Twitter account because it will no longer cut it. People who are running your social accounts have to understand the product or service like veteran members of your customer service staff. The use of chatbots to field common questions is easily doable, freeing up time for your human service people to tackle more complex ones.

2. Automation will become more and more personal

Automation and AI are hot topics in every sector, and customer service is no exception, but when customers hear “customer-service automation,” they think of automated menus and robocalls. From the user’s perspective, that sort of automation is worse than none at all.

Used well, customer-service software can lighten an agent’s load without erasing the human touch. Contact centre software provider Five9 suggests agents use real-time transcription services, which can achieve 95% accuracy with custom tuning, so they can focus more on the customer and less on transcription errors. Automation will be a must, but it’s best used to develop human workers. Having only basic chat on your website was becoming outdated last year and moving into 2019 it’s even worse. Customers increasingly expect chat solutions to be incredibly fluid, switching between various communication mediums (text, video, screen sharing) as needed on the fly without being forced to change applications or start over.

Modern service software now leverages the true power of AI, nothing related to simplistic chatbots that lure in customers. These solutions are incorporating AI from the ground up not to stand on its own as a replacement for human agents, but to aid them in working smarter and more efficiently. Examples include sentiment analysis, predictive chat, and distress scoring.

3. Customer-service training will become companywide

Employees like engineers and marketers may not interact directly with customers, but they need to incorporate customer-service skills all the same. The reason is the rising importance of your UX. To deliver a better experience, everyone needs to know common customer pain points and solutions. Encourage people to think beyond their immediate role and subject area. Marketing software firm HubSpot trained its content team not just on marketing or writing, but also on how to represent the company online. Ensure everyone knows how to refer to your product and brand. Develop a “top 10” list explaining how to address common customer questions.

4. Customer Agents will become more knowledgeable

It used to be that agents were hired based on their expertise in one particular customer service channel. For example, those with awesome call centre skills were placed accordingly while savvy communicators manned the chat channel.

Customer care agents today are crossed-trained for expertise in all customer engagement mediums including social media, email, chat, phone and text. Businesses benefit from this skillset flexibility by using and moving agents to serve customers no matter what their preferred mode of communication is.

  1. “Customer success” stories will become the norm

More companies are beginning to understand that customer service is more than just reading scripted responses and working on a ticket queue. It’s about doing anything and everything possible so your customers are successful with your business. This mentality is leading to a rise in “customer success” within companies that dedicate the time and resources necessary to keep customers happy. The new emphasis on the customer has also led to reduced churn and more positive third-party feedback.

No matter if your organization is just embarking on your optimized customer experience journey, or continuing on a well-established path with added innovations, today’s marketing landscape more than indicates exactly how and why being customer-centric is necessary for company survival and success.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.business2community.com/trends-news/5-customer-service-trends-to-watch-for-in-2019-and-beyond-02225441

https://www.teamsupport.com/blog/trends-customer-service-2019

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/343367

Why Soft Skills Matter in the Workplace

It’s no secret that interpersonal skills are the next big thing in HR. In layman terms, soft skills will most likely define the future. In a 2018 LinkedIn worldwide survey of over four thousand professionals the results have revealed that “training for soft skills is the number one priority.”

Soft skills are often referred to as transferable skills. As this term implies, these are skills which are less specialised on one specific vocation and which are more aligned with the personality of a candidate. Soft skills usually relate to a person’s various attitudes and intuitions. Given the fact that soft skills are linked with personality, it is important for each candidate to assess and understand what their soft skills are and how they can showcase them during an interview.

Unlike hard skills, which can be measured, soft skills are intangible and difficult to quantify. Among the examples of soft skills may include analytical thinking, verbal and written communication, and leadership.

Nowadays, employers actually care more about soft skills than they do technical abilities like reading comprehension and mathematics.

Among soft skills one of the more important ones is emotional intelligence (EQ). From a 2015 LinkedIn survey it has been discovered that people with high EQ earn on average $29,000 more.

Why do Soft Skills Matter?

A constructive example of the difference between people with or without soft skills are medical doctors. A doctor is obligated by his work field to have an extensive array of hard skills. But a doctor who does not have emotional intelligence, trustworthiness and approachability (i.e. soft skills) is not likely to be very well perceived by their patients.

Employers value soft skills because they enable people to function and thrive in various teams and in numerous types of organisations as a whole. Here are a few of the most important soft skills:

 1. Communication

Written and verbal communication skills are of utmost importance in the workplace because they set the tone for how people perceive you. They also improve your chances of building relationships with co-workers. Communication skills boost your performance because they help you to extract clear expectations from your manager so that you can deliver excellent work. Workers are more productive when they know how to communicate with their peers, says Robinson. If you can clearly express the who, what, when, where, why, and how of a project, you’ll be seen as a top talent.

2. Teamwork

An organisation’s success is rarely dependent on one person doing something all by themselves. Success is the result of many people working toward a shared goal. When employees can synthesise and use their varied talents, everyone wins. If you work alongside friends, then productivity simply sores through the roof. Employers look to team players to build a friendly office culture, which helps retain employees and, most importantly, top talent. Furthermore, being able to collaborate well with co-workers enhances the quality of their work.

3. Adaptability

Obviously, things don’t always go as planned, and instead of digging in your heels, you need to be able to swivel and find appropriate solutions. Consequently, employers need workers who can adapt to industry shifts and keep the company current. Push yourself to be an early adopter of change. Explore the possibility of joining training sessions and offer to teach your co-workers what you have learned.

4. Problem-solving

When something goes wrong, the difference between people is that some complain and others simply take action. Undoubtedly, the latter will get you noticed. People who know how to think on their feet can make employees indispensable to an employer. Nothing is a given. Companies rely on problem-solvers—top performers—to manage unexpected arisen challenges. It is best to approach the manager with a solution, not a problem. So when an issue springs up, think about an alternative solution and how you are going to present it to your boss.

5. Conflict resolution

Being able to resolve issues with co-workers will help people maintain relationships with their peers and work more effectively and efficiently. Being able to work through office politics and disagreements with people is a clear sign of maturity, as well as leadership. Someone like this helps promote a collaborative workplace. The best way to resolve disagreements between co-workers is to address issues directly but in a delicate, humane manner. Therefore, if someone is stepping in as a mediator, he or she should let both parties air their grievances in a judgment-free zone and then work together to find a compromising solution.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.wikijob.co.uk/content/interview-advice/competencies/soft-skills

https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/soft-skills-you-need

https://www.fastcompany.com/90430423/5-soft-skills-you-need-to-succeed-at-work

Workplace Fatigue: Simple Hoax or Real Threat?

We all had days in which it’s barely 2 o’clock, lunch is barely over and you are absolutely exhausted. While this feeling is absolutely normal after lunch, what do you do when this feeling follows you all day, every day? Workplace tiredness doesn’t necessarily mean physical exhaustion but focuses more on the mental side of things.

This state does not appear solely due to low energy levels, but it also signals a clear lack of motivation. Due to this continuous state of fatigue, people can hardly concentrate and stay organised. If these circumstances keep on longer than a few weeks, in spite of enjoying adequate sleep and feelings of anxiousness and depression start to settle in more and more, then burnout is on its way.

There is no shame in feeling tired at work; there may be some stressful situation at home or simply you did not get enough sleep the night before, it happens. Nevertheless, when the relentless feeling of tiredness has set in for weeks on end then it is time for people to take action. This is your brain trying to tell you that something needs to change in what and how you do things. You might be overworked, stressed or generally unhappy with the state of affairs surrounding you.

Recent research has revealed that fatigue still ranks amongst the top symptoms for both anxiety and depression, with the added bonus of having a better understanding of why our bodies “ask” for more rest. Obviously, these fatigue periods start with a very stressful event that activates the “fight-or-flight” response in our bodies and we start releasing a lot of adrenaline, amongst other hormones. The hormones released in the body alter physiological traits such as heart rate, given the fact that cortisol levels are up whilst serotonin and dopamine are on the back foot. Studies show that there is a clear correlation between stress and neurogenesis (the process of creating neurons) in the hippocampus, which ultimately leads to numerous depression symptoms.

Given all these changes that are happening internally, the theory states that fatigue is simply a coping mechanism. When stress hormones are produced, they usually start the process of “circuit breaking” and simply block glucose intake by receptors in both the hippocampus and the amygdala. Even though this protects the brain from way too much excitement, it does make it incredibly harder to remain happy over longer periods of time and do everything you have planned.

Work fatigue – Slippery Slope towards Burnout

Ironically, the main issue here isn’t that these elements make people feel tired at work, but that they can become so aggravating that the road to burnout becomes shorter and shorter. Burnout can be explained like a constant state of fatigue combined with a deep sense of cynicism, lack of ambition and accomplishment.

A sudden burst in fatigue can mean that people require more time to decompress, rest, and enjoy life. That might mean that the manager may have to offer more resources, more flexible or slowed scheduling, informal get-togethers, or just being more approachable by all members of staff. More often than not, people assume that they’re tired for various other reasons, such as not exercising enough, drinking a bit too much on a night out, etc. They could also say nothing about their prolonged state of exhaustion due to existing stigma around mental health and the desire to look strong and in control.

Managers should also factor in the negative influence on productivity levels and decision making that fatigue can have. The worst thing management can do in this situation is to start pointing fingers and openly criticise people, before even trying to find out what is the source of the dip in productivity. However, this does not mean that accountability should be eradicated, but done after rigorous talks and one-on-one meetings.  Some managers just assume that employees just do not want what is best for them in order to succeed. Everyone deserves a second chance to fix their mishaps and mistakes, while management should focus on eliminating stressors that usually come from operations and organisational culture.

One last thing that a manager should definitely take into account is that every person is unique, which makes the process of identifying stressors even more difficult.  What is stressful for someone may be a cakewalk for someone else and vice versa. Thus, while it’s more than ok to set general goals and standards, managers should be interested in knowing each member of his or her team in order to fully understand what makes them tick and what makes them doubt themselves. Hard work must be put in to create a real and meaningful work relationship so that when employees have a stressful situation on their hands, they’ll be more than comfortable to share their experience and, it goes without saying, that friendship is one of the best stress relievers out there.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.inc.com/wanda-thibodeaux/science-explains-exactly-why-stress-makes-you-so-exhausted.html

https://www.fastcompany.com/90426942/why-youre-tired-at-work-all-the-time

https://www.fastcompany.com/40541783/tired-at-work-for-no-reason-your-brains-trying-to-tell-you-something

Why Team Building Is An Essential Investment

Team building does not have the best reputation nowadays. Most people imagine being stuck with their co-workers for 1 or 2 days doing meaningless exercises that technically are supposed to increase productivity and collegiality.

Even though its reputation for being ineffective, team building has become one of the most important investments organisations can make for their employees. Despite the negatives emotions, it gives people, team building does build trust, alleviates conflict, boosts communication and enhances collaboration. Effective team building is what every company is looking for because it means a higher level of engagement in employees, which is fantastic for the bottom line. It can also be extremely fun if it’s done right.

It is clear as the light of day that the most successful team-building activities are the ones that make employees feel at ease and not all as having to go to work. Activities that are not at all subtle about aiming to reveal leadership and talent are obviously lowering enthusiasm amongst participants. By simply just spending time together and sharing experiences into completing a common goal allows co-workers to bond in a more natural way and it is by far more effective.

Unsurprisingly, happiness and learning have been correlated to work very well together. Most of the time, all companies have to do is introduce their employees to new things and activities which will, more often than not, will generate a feel-good factor which obviously translates into good news for the organisation. In the majority of cases, exercises that are out of the ordinary get people to work together in various new ways.

What is the purpose of team building?

Numerous analyses have revealed that people who participate in team building feel more positively about their team. This positivity is manifested in various ways such as more trust in their co-workers, more satisfaction that they’re part of a certain team and a lot more confidence that the team will achieve its targets.

Furthermore, employees that complete team building sessions together have better interactions: they communicate, coordinate and manage conflicts better. These processes are key in accomplishing the team’s ambitions.

However, team building may not directly improve team performance. Despite a better line of communication and more trustworthy workers, team building by itself doesn’t have a direct impact on performance. The reason for this is simply because performance relies on so many other factors besides team interactions that it shouldn’t be the only thing a company does if it wishes to improve performance levels.

When is team building the most effective?

Amongst team building activities, some are more effective than others. What sets apart most sessions is this: team building activities that focus on achieving goals and/or clarifying roles have the most beneficial impact. Achieving goals refers to define and clarify both individual and team objectives, and planning what actions need to be taken in order to turn objectives into reality. Clarifying roles purely means team members discuss what is and isn’t their task and understand their duties better.

On the other hand, team building exercises focused on improving interpersonal relations or solving already existing problems bring smaller, but still relevant benefits. Improving interoffice relations sees team members work on their trust among themselves whilst also building connections on a more personal level. Solving problems means identifying what doesn’t necessarily click between team members and planning on how to improve future situations.

Organisations must always remember that team building is not a splurge but merely an investment in the future! For example, one of the partners of NASCAR was invited for a day out on the tracks. 350$ for each employee wasn’t the most expensive nor cheap investment but at the end of the day, everything made sense. Everyone felt appreciated, given the fact that they were going around the track at over 233 kilometres per hour.

Daily Team Building Opportunities

Team building can include the daily interaction that employees engage in when working together to carry out the requirements of their jobs. This form of team building is natural and which can be assisted if the team takes the time required to come up with their own set of norms. The criteria help group members know how to appropriately interact with each other and the rest of the organisation.

Team building can also involve structured activities and exercises that employees on the team can lead, one way in which team criteria are established. As an alternative, with the proper budget and benchmark, managers can contract out for facilitation with an external resource. External facilitation, by an experienced person, can give your team building a boost.

No matter how an organisation chooses to build their group of employees into a team, the resulting bonds will enable them to accomplish the work and goals of the organisation more effectively than a group of people who don’t really know each other. As long as the company’s focus is dedicated to team building opportunities that lend themselves to the accomplishment of the actual work of the team, you are effectively building a team.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/what-is-team-building-1918270

https://scienceforwork.com/blog/team-building/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianscudamore/2016/03/09/why-team-building-is-the-most-important-investment-youll-make/#1ba7fb90617f

Is Praise The Best Way To Motivate Employees?

It is fair to say that society has reached a point in which excessive praise is being offered to the rich and powerful. The upper tiers of our present society have been showered with awards, honours and superstar status. Billionaires and philanthropists alike are massively applauded for their work and charities which turn out to have very little impact on the world. The effects of this practice of praising excessively are worth taking into account and raise some concerns. By praising people, even though they deserve it can have a negative impact on how they behave.

Numerous psychological studies have been done on this subject and they have demonstrated that people are highly responsive to moral compensation. In layman terms, this means that when people feel they have acted well, they also feel that it gives them permission to engage in negative behaviours in the future. The reverse works the same way. If more and more studies come out and prove the accuracy of the aforementioned studies then humanity can practically see the social consequences of praise and/or blame. Too much praise could lead people to act badly, whilst blaming them when they make mistakes could lead to positive behaviour. So how many influential, wealthy and powerful people does the world need to harm society irreversibly?

Every organisation knows that culture without revenue is not feasible or sustainable. If a company wouldn’t be growing financially, there would be a complete shift in culture. It is important to have fun, but it’s never in first place. In order to get the best out of employees it is recommended to explain your expectations from them since day one. If employees understand the culture and how success is determined, they will be off to a flying start.

However, giving feedback remains one of the most difficult things a manager has to do. In a survey which amounted 7,631 people, 44% of them agreed that giving their employees negative reviews is difficult and stressful. Some quotes from the managers interviewed have surfaced the negative impact it has on them: “I just wanted to get it over quickly”, “They don’t pay me enough to do this”, “I did not sleep the night before” and “My hands were sweating and I was nervous”. Given the anxiety managers are facing when they have to offer negative feedback, 21% admitted that they avoid giving the negative feedback altogether.

In a comparative study 328 managers’ self-assessments were correlated with results from 360-degree feedback surveys. Each leader was rated by an average of 13 respondents on a variety of behaviours, including “Gives honest feedback in a helpful way.” The ones who rated that thought a person was effective in giving feedback were most influenced by the leader’s comfort and willingness to give positive reinforcement. Whether the manager gave negative feedback did not make a big difference — unless the leader avoided giving positive feedback. This was also true when we looked only at the ratings of direct reports.

When the study looked into the managers’ self-assessments, however, there was a totally changed point of view. There was a strong correlation between people who believe they give “honest, straightforward” feedback and those who give negative feedback, regardless of whether they also give positive feedback.

Leaders obviously carry some incorrect beliefs about the value and benefits of different forms of feedback. They vastly underestimate the power and necessity of positive reinforcement. However, in reverse, they greatly overestimate the value and benefit of negative or corrective feedback. In all, they misjudge the impact negative feedback has on how they are perceived by their colleagues, bosses, and direct reports. Giving only negative feedback diminishes a leader’s effectiveness in the eyes of others and does not have the effect they believe it has.

Perhaps in an effort to provide employees with what they believe is direct, honest feedback, managers who prefer giving negative feedback may come across as only looking for what’s wrong. Some employees have described this as, “Quick to criticise and slow to praise.” While the findings do not directly reveal why managers are so hesitant to give positive feedback, the study that involved the leaders suggests that there could be a variety of reasons. Perhaps it starts with the perception that the really good managers are the tough graders who are not afraid to tell people what’s wrong. Possibly they believe that giving people positive feedback will encourage a subordinate to let up or coast. Maybe they are emulating their prior bosses who gave little praise, but who pointed out any mistake or weakness. Some may believe it a sign of weakness to praise subordinates. Maybe they just don’t know how to effectively deliver appreciation or praise. Or maybe they intend to give kudos, but feel so busy that the days slip by and they never quite remember to send out that note of praise for a job well done.

In conclusion, the findings suggest that if you want to be seen as a good feedback-giver, you should proactively develop the skill of giving praise as well as criticism. Giving positive feedback shows your direct reports that you are in their corner, and that you want them to win and to succeed. Once people know you are their advocate, it should also make giving criticism less stressful and more effective.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.inc.com/tom-gimbel/why-praising-your-staff-might-be-the-most-dangerous-thing-you-do-today.html

https://www.fastcompany.com/90394590/this-is-the-negative-effects-of-praise-that-youve-probably-never-thought-about

https://hbr.org/2017/05/why-do-so-many-managers-avoid-giving-praise

Cultural Conflict in the Workplace

Cultural conflict in the workplace is never healthy and may lead to significant drops in productivity and morale. Managing such conflicts leads to a more harmonious workplace and, more often than not, garnering more creative ideas through multiculturalism.

Nowadays, companies have culturally diverse teams and it guarantees them success in the long term. Besides common sense, scientific studies have also revealed the fact that people with distinctive points of view and personalities increases the creativity of a team in solving their tasks. This is an honest assumption if we consider that every team member is pulling in the same direction.

A few years ago, Harvard Business School Assistant Professor Roy Y. J. Chua started to think about the impact of various cultures when working on a case study about a Chinese luxury apparel company. From his observations he discovered that there was a lot of unresolved conflict, miscommunication and tension between people of different cultures. Even when asked about their issues people did not seem to think there is a problem between them.

From his previous studies, Chua has compared the cultural problems and discrimination to hostile work environments where sexual harassment or racial discrimination were the underlying troubles. In these instances as well, co-workers’ performance and morale dipped even when they were not the targets of the aforementioned abuses. This is what is called ‘indirect conflict’ and it happens more often than companies think. For example, children who observe tensions between their parents may grow sceptical of the idea of marriage and just as citizens of USA and Mexico may have a growing hatred for each other due to the bickering their leaders have. So isn’t it possible that it could happen in the workplace?

Further Analysis Requirements

In order to further his discoveries professor Chua had decided to test his hypothesis with a series of studies. In the first study, a group of online participants were asked to make a list of their most important people on their own social media profiles, making note of their cultural backgrounds and if they were in good relations with one another. In the second part of the study, professor Chua has asked the participants to do a word association exercise in order to test their ability to connect distinct ideas from various cultures – this being the precursor to creativity on a global scale. In the exercise, they have been given the words “great”, “street” and “Berlin” and their answers should have been “Great Wall”, “Wall Street” and “Berlin Wall”. The findings from this exercise revealed that participants who had a more diverse pool of people on social media and disliked each other did around 23% worse on the test.

In Chua’s second study, he had asked the participants to think about 2 or 3 people from the same or different cultural backgrounds who have a reputation for not getting along too well with other people. Furthermore, study participants were asked to read professor Chua’s Chinese fashion house case study and then make their own suggestions for the collection that was going to be launched next year which would blend Asian and Western fashion styles. After this, fashion experts were asked to judge the creativity of their ideas. They have determined that the people with the least creative side were the ones who recalled friends from various cultural backgrounds who had conflicting relationships (e.g. 23% lower creativity score than the rest). Another interesting point discovered by Chua was that participants who saw people from different cultures having a good relationship, that it did not promote creativity, leading professor Chua to the conclusion that “As human beings, we pay more attention to negative information because it is a signal of danger. Positive information tends to be given less weight.”

CULTURAL SHOWDOWN

The experiments performed by Chua have demonstrated that for people working in multicultural business environments, it may be a slight risk but at the same time it underlined the importance of creating an environment that reduces intercultural disharmony. He went on to say “It is inevitable to have conflict when you bring people from different cultural backgrounds together,” he says. “It’s about how you manage the conflict. A lot of times managers try to put together a multicultural workplace without trying to integrate people better.”

It is fair to assume that if you were to be exposed to different work environments and ethics which differ to the ones you have grown accustomed to. This will most likely lead to wrong assumptions regarding your colleagues or managers and not with you. For instance, there may be a problem for people who celebrate Ramadan or the Lunar New Year who are living in Europe, because most Europeans do not value the importance of these holidays.

The reason this usually happens is because people have a tendency to over-value their own culture. We tend to believe that the way we do things, we communicate, we make decisions or lead is the most natural, polite, civilised and effective. Due to the clash between 2 cultures, we under-value and disapprove the new culture due to the fact that we are so set in our own ways.

There isn’t a simple recipe to manage cultural friction in the workplace, but solving it does create a harmonious workplace and the company can use the creative force which brought on by multiculturalism.

In order to manage cultural conflict here are a few things companies can do:

  • Cultural background research on all employees.
  • Remember never to pass on judgement through you own cultural frame of reference.
  • Developing self-awareness in all employees in order to be more conscious in approaching another person
  • Reconciliation is key as a leadership skill
  • Becoming as culturally competent as possible and develop traits such as compassion, empathy, behavioural and thinking flexibility and emotional resilience.

In conclusion, it is fair to assume that this information does not mean the company’s cross-cultural conflict is completely and forever solved, but it definitely is a step in the right direction.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.londonschool.com/lsic/resources/blog/conflict-workplace-its-personal-even-when-its-cultural/

https://www.expatica.com/employment/employment-basics/dealing-with-cultural-conflicts-at-work-422715/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/hbsworkingknowledge/2013/12/09/how-cultural-conflict-undermines-workplace-creativity/#5cf7b03e214f

Betrayal in the Workplace and How to Deal with It

Betrayal comes in many ways and forms and the one that happens in the workplace is no different. There may be times when you be undermined by a co-worker during a presentation, ignored by your manager or blindsided by a fellow colleague. This almost always leads to professional and personal deception, which, more often than not, leads to unwarranted stress and disappointment. The next logical step in this situation would be to take some affirmative action, but caution is key here. It is imperative that you have a clear understanding of the situation and circumstances of the betrayal in order to fully understand what and how you have to act next.

Of course, in a perfect world scenario, team members, managers and leaders work towards the same goal. But, unfortunately, there are moments when you’re doing your job at peak performance and, out of the blue, your manager throws you under the bus. It is never good when it happens and as an ‘added bonus’ it can damage your reputation with others.

You can count on the fingers of one hand things that are more hurtful than betrayal, especially when it is done by a person of trust. When the betrayal is done by your boss, the pain can be exacerbated given the fact that it’s the person who impacts your career and, more or less, livelihood. Betrayal by your boss can come in numerous ways: public shaming for a colleague’s mistake, taking credit for a project you solely did and oversaw and giving the promotion they have promised you to someone else.  

Given the fact that we have a wide and complex range of emotions, our brains process betrayal as trauma and, just like every other trauma, we expect it to repeat itself. Reactions to boss betrayal can range from losing the ability to trust other co-workers, hindering your optimism and resilience during strenuous times and even lacking the capacity to deal with complex situations. When this happens, our own behaviour should start concerning us, not our boss’s.

Recent research has discovered that 85% of workplace betrayal is unintentional. Although your boss’s betrayal wasn’t intentional, it still raises serious questions regarding his personality and seriousness. Furthermore, the research has stated that after your manager behaves badly, you are more inclined to do the exact same thing. It is of the utmost importance that you are clear on the values you wish your professional relationship to be based upon.

Even though it is as clear as the light of day that you won’t be able to change your boss’s behaviour and attitude, you can still manage to keep their bad conduct from changing you. Here are a few ways how.

Focus and Get Your Facts Straight

Before you act on your emotions and anger you must be sure that the information you have is correct, especially if you have received it second-hand in the first place. It is recommended that we discuss and assess the situation with the people we trust the most and which witnessed the exact circumstances. Even if you discover that your boss actually betrayed you, emotions must be kept in check. If you give in to those emotions and react unprofessional, you will unwantedly pass along the negative news that is out there about you.

 Patterns of betrayal

People who, unfortunately, tolerate abusive behaviour all their lives believe they deserve it and this can happen with an abusive boss. In some strange manner, a sort of Stockholm syndrome sets in and you start to accept betrayal as something normal. This type of action can be counter measured by interrupting them as soon and as much as possible. If they fail to keep their promises, keep their commitments to you well-documented. If they take credit for your work, make sure there are other managers who know that you have worked on that project. These actions may not change the behaviour, but they may just keep your mental health in order.

Reach out to HR

If the workplace treatment you are receiving is becoming more and more unfair and abusive and you cannot handle it any longer it may be time to involve the human resources (HR) department. By reporting the issue to HR, you are not just helping yourself, but the company as a whole. Problem managers can be easily identified and removed from an organisation if HR is involved. Worst case scenario, HR can help you find other opportunities within the company if a ‘cease fire’ cannot be agreed upon with the problematic manager.

It is quintessential to remember that not everybody is out to betray you. It is understandable that if you are constantly betrayed by your boss, you can easily become paranoid and stop trusting people altogether. It is imperative that you pay attention to your emotions and behaviours. You do not want to damage your professional relationships with other authoritative figures within the business. Are you constantly questioning the actions and motives of the people you rely on doing for your job? Are you over-analysing the decisions people are making in the office? As mentioned earlier, betrayal is an incredibly powerful and toxic force which can easily spread in to all other aspects of your life. Keep reminding yourself that not everyone is out to get you.

In conclusion, it is safe to say that when you are working for a ‘betrayal boss’ you should get out of there as quickly as can be. Until you can make your professional move elsewhere, do anything in your powers to protect yourself and not become a shadow of your former self. The choice to allow their betrayal to negatively impact you and who you are is and will always be yours.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://work.chron.com/survive-workplace-betrayal-18986.html

https://hbr.org/2019/07/what-to-do-when-your-boss-betrays-you

https://www.fastcompany.com/40437356/what-to-do-when-your-boss-throws-you-under-the-bus

Dominant Vs. Prestigious: What Kind of Leader Are You?

It is widely known that there are leaders who have different approaches and styles which, ultimately, leads to various consequences when they do something wrong or out of line. On the other hand, some leaders get out of situations their own actions created, or are simply given the benefit of the doubt. In a recent study published in the Academy of Management Journal, it has been revealed that leaders are dealt with their mistakes in direct correlation with how they achieved their status in the organisation.

In the field of social psychology, there is a theory that goes around explaining how leaders achieve their status and how they exert influence on various groups of people. Essentially, there are 2 distinct paths: through prestige or through dominance. There is a clear pattern in which leaders are being punished for their misdemeanours directly depending on which way they have obtained their status.

Leaders who obtain this status through dominance are very assertive and forceful-minded people and do not hesitate in getting their opinions known and do not flinch when they have to influence other people through intimidation or coercive tactics. Due to their ruthless proactiveness some people may think that they are integral in a group’s success. The best example of such a leader is Steve Ballmer, former CEO at Microsoft, who was known for being a very tough individual, who had a lot to ask of its teams and which definitely represents the ‘model’ for dominant leaders.

On the other hands, prestige leaders act like a teacher, they are people who are more than willing to share their skills, time, expertise and knowledge with other members of the group. Due to the fact they help members of their teams develop and hone their skills, they are also viewed as quintessential to a groups’ success. Such an example in this case would be Satya Nadella, current Microsoft CEO and is known in the world of business for his collective and established approach which in turn makes him the archetype for the prestige leader.

It is widely known that aggression has numerous levels on its scale and we all have to agree that there are some jobs which require a certain degree of combativeness, it could be a decisive quality in some distinct scenarios. For example, there are CEOs who are better suited to negotiate and facilitate hostile takeovers, litigation lawyers who are required to take charge of the courtroom, or a police officer. These careers ‘demand’ behavioural traits which are closely aligned to aggression due to the simple fact that they can be extremely advantageous.

As mentioned earlier, dominant and prestige leaders are being punished differently for their mistakes or lack of results and there are two reasons why. Firstly, dominant leaders are perceived as highly unethical and selfish and because of this they are having difficulties in making themselves believed when an error occurs. It will always a subject of discussion whether it was intentional or not. However, prestigious leaders are treated completely different in a similar scenario due to the fact that people trust them.

Secondly, it is widely accepted that ‘prestige’ leaders possess altruistic traits and a strong moral compass. Hence, a mistake done by a prestigious leader would be seen as far less reprehensible, less immoral and less unethical due to their virtuous nature and history. In layman terms, these types of leaders have ‘moral credits’ in their ‘moral bank account’ which makes small ‘withdrawals’ whenever a problematic situation arises. In the case of ‘dominance’ leaders, their ‘moral bank account’ is virtually empty, thus leading to situations in which they are being judged more harshly as being immoral and unethical.

In order to further demonstrate the aforementioned study’s findings, statistics and players from the National Hockey League (NHL) have been carefully observed over the course of 2 seasons. The hypothesis that was followed through was on players who were penalised for minor fouls. These fouls are usually difficult to assess and are awarded almost instantaneously by the referee, which are prone to a bias assessment of the situation. Over the course of 2 full seasons of NHL, it was discovered that high-status players who are associated with dominant traits have been penalised more by the referees in the cases of minor fouls. This, of course, was the opposite for high-status prestige players. The discrepancy in punishment was discovered to be about 13%, which in time translates to 4,33 minutes spent on the sidebar over the course of 1 season.

In relation to their employees, dominant leaders struggle more in terms of employee retention given the fact that their aggressive style of management makes employees unhappy and losing their desire to do good work. This obviously leads to a toxic workplace environment. Furthermore, if the situation prolongs itself in time it can lead to productivity losses, high absenteeism rates and an abundance of employee turnover.

There are, of course, various strategies through which ‘dominance’ leaders can change their behaviour in order to, at least, improve their relationship with the employees.

  1. Opening, encouraging and maintaining an open communication between the leader and its team, whilst also starting a two-way street in terms of feedback to and for the leader.
  2. Speak directly to the leader and appeal to his sense of logic and explain how the actions he or she takes impact the whole business.
  3. If you are dealing with a narcissistic leader, it would be recommended to present your feedback in regards to their behaviour by explaining that it could negatively impact their goals. Avoid making direct behavioural criticism.
  4. Refuse rewarding or promoting leaders who are aggressive and that can be detrimental to the company’s bottom line.

In conclusion, it is recommended to address the behaviours of dominant leaders from the beginning of their tenure and to highlight the utmost importance of stability in the decision-making process, which could directly increase the productivity, satisfaction and quality of employees.

There is a real value in providing companies with the tools to carry out regular organisational assessments and this is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company to thrive in every type of industry and any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2019/07/aggressive-leaders-are-more-likely-to-be-punished-for-their-mistakes

https://www.fastcompany.com/3048494/the-difference-between-strong-leaders-and-aggressive-leaders

http://www.wiseworkplace.com.au/_blog/WISE_Blog/post/the-cost-of-aggressive-leaders/