Tag Archives: Employees

Employee Engagement - Leadership

Com Pane — Breaking Bread in Your Organization

I used to bake bread for our family, specifically Challah, about once a month. We didn’t celebrate the sabbath in our home every week, but our family knew that when they smelled the aromatic Challah, we would be having a “formal” dinner. They could expect that everyone would sit at the table, engage in active conversation, and be a loving family for at least 30 minutes.

Bloomberg posted this article in April:

Workers Are Winning the Return-to-Office War Because They’re Right

My big takeaway from the article is this:

The important lesson that employers learned from Covid is that companies are more than just “nexuses of contacts,” as Michael Jensen and William Meckling put it in 1976. They are social organizations that are in the business of transmitting unique cultures. In fact, the word “company” is comprised of two Latin words “com” and “pane,” meaning breaking bread together. When it comes to passing on the tricks of the trade, generating a sense of camaraderie, or solving collective problems, there is nothing better than sharing the same space. 

Whether your organization never stopped meeting on site, you have gone fully virtual, or you started a new hybrid model, when you are together don’t overlook time to break bread. If you are a senior leader, meet with all of your direct reports at least once a month. Get to know each other as people, refrain from always discussing job responsibilities, and just talk as two people about your lives outside of work. If you are a department head, bring your remote employees together at least quarterly, and be sure to throw some fun into the mix while you are all together. If you are an employee seeking connection, try starting a company-sponsored pickleball or bowling team.  

And when you are in my area, please let me know and I will make Challah and share a meal with you. My husband loves meeting my work family, and we have plenty of room around our table. Remember that the root words of “company” are about breaking bread together. When will you next break bread with your work family?

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Leadership - Performance Management

Do You Work for “That” Boss?

I am that boss. The one who darts from good idea to good idea until there are so many ideas that nothing is accomplished. I am just back from the Influence Conference, and as usual had a great time learning and growing with colleagues. Even before I left, I knew I would come back to my office with too much information and too many things to implement.

During our Monday Morning Meeting a couple weeks ago, I literally said to my staff, Keri and Mary, “Watch out! I am going to the NSA conference so I will be emailing and texting you nonstop with things we should do. You should probably keep a running list and we can figure out what is truly important and reasonable when I return.”

And then, as though Alexa was listening, I saw this article: 

How to Work for a Boss Who Has a New Idea Every Five Minutes

If you work with a passionate, creative and oftentimes scattered boss, I think the ideas in this article are better than just making a list. If you would like coaching on this topic, I suggest that Keri and Mary help you, as in this case, I am a “do as I say, not as I do” boss – the very worst kind.

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Communication - Feedback and Recognition

Seeing Half of the Story

One of our clients was kind enough to send me what he experienced after I wrote an article about the importance of feedback and compliments.

“Once I paid what I thought was a huge compliment to a Director of Nursing about a member of her nursing staff. As a physician, I said it’s frequently challenging to reach the nurses station by telephone, but whenever I call this particular station, the unit nurse very promptly answers the phone. I relayed to the nursing director that I was very appreciative that this nurse was so immediately responsive to my needs.

The nursing director thanked me for letting her know, and informed me that this particular nurse has been neglecting their duties with respect to patient care and has been on a corrective action plan. The director said that the last place this nurse should be is sitting at the nurses station answering the phone!” My friend the doctor suggested to me that perhaps giving appreciative feedback isn’t always helpful. While that can be true, I think it’s a more complicated and nuanced issue. The following positives came from his comment:

  • The doctor had a productive conversation with the Director of Nursing.
  • The nurse who answered was rewarded.
  • The exchange highlights that employees are multi-dimensional. Even employees who are underperforming in some ways are likely doing at least a few things right, and it’s important to notice what is going right as well as what needs correction.

 Can you think of colleagues or employees who need improvement, but are still doing a lot of things right? When positive actions are recognized and appreciated, we are more receptive to making changes to improve performance in other areas. A 360 review provides individuals with a comprehensive evaluation and allows them to receive valuable feedback not only from their managers, but also from colleagues, clients, and vendors.

I am such an advocate of the 360 review process that I’ve written about it on multiple occasions. By learning and having the opportunity to give and receive feedback, employees can improve their work relationships and leverage themselves and their organizations to the next level.

Is it time for your organization to do a 360?

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