When it comes to conflict, most of us have a default approach: we either tend to avoid it or seek it out. The avoiders among us shy away from disagreements, value harmony and positive relationships, and will often try to placate people or even change the topic. Avoiders don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or disrupt team dynamics. Seekers (and I’m one of them!) seem eager to engage in disagreements. They tend to care about directness and honesty, lose their patience when others aren’t being equally direct, and don’t mind ruffling feathers.
Neither style is better [...]
Many companies are attempting a radical — and often rapid — shift from hierarchical structures to more agile environments, in order to operate at the speed required by today’s competitive marketplace. Companies like ANZ, the Australian-based banking giant, have made explicit commitments to adopt agile principles, while others like Zappos, are on the bleeding edge of organizational transformation. Many stopping points exist along the continuum from hierarchy to holacracy. To successfully transform to a more agile enterprise, companies must make conscious choices about where an [...]
After careful review of her harried work life, Charla, an IT manager, discovered that 20% of her time over the previous two months was spent managing escalations. It seemed that each interaction with her team ended with her feeling a need to exercise her authority to rescue them from a crisis. For example:
Sarah complains that Ken — a peer — repeatedly fails to include her on group emails.
Geri can’t get the data he needs from another department.
An internal customer is two months late with requirements but is pressing Pat not to push back his delivery date.
A VP is bypassin [...]
Tax evasion is a key societal challenge and causes considerable losses in government revenue. In the U.S., these losses are estimated to be about $500 billion, roughly the size of the federal government’s annual deficit.
How can we ensure that people report their income correctly? The classic approach to reducing tax evasion is to increase the probability of being detected and to increase penalties. However, if people are motivated by a desire to do the right thing, moral appeals could also contribute to increased tax compliance. In a new study, we show that moral motivation is impo [...]
Discussions of leadership tend to focus on its positive outcomes, such as innovation, employee engagement or organizational performance. However, for the majority of employees, the leaders in their organizations are a source of stress rather than inspiration. Indeed, for every transformational leader and emotionally intelligent manager out there, there are dozens of toxic bosses, and they come in many different forms. Barbara Kellerman at Harvard University has devoted a great deal of her career to studying problematic leaders. She identified seven major types: (1) incompetent, (2) rigid, (3) [...]
The corporate landscape has become increasingly unequal, with the most productive firms thriving and the least productive ones failing to keep up. This matters not just for economic growth but also for inequality: Our research shows that as they grow apart in productivity, firms are also becoming more unequal in how much they pay workers.
Other research has documented that the pay gap between firms is contributing to increased income inequality, but our work makes two additional contributions. First, we use new OECD data that is representative of the whole population of businesses in 16 c [...]
Paul Garbett for HBR
Risk taking by big U.S. banks exploded in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, with disastrous consequences for American firms, markets, and households. Much of the added risk, of course, came in the form of complex, opaque financial instruments like derivatives, the “financial weapons of mass destruction” that played such a central role in the crisis and the panic that followed.
But why did banks get in so deep with derivatives, particularly after Washington tried to crack down on risk with new laws and regulations in the early 2000s? In [...]
Almost 20 years have passed since the corporate world woke up to long-term problems in computer code, which became known as Y2K. Over the previous decades, software developers had used the date 01-01-00 (January 1, 2000) as a convenient hack to make it easier to debug software. The problem was that it wasn’t taken out. So as 2000 loomed, there was a realization that, when the clocks hit midnight, software all over the world could simply stop running. Thankfully, at a cost of a few billion dollars, the software was audited and patched, and businesses went back to worrying about [...]
Management teams and organizations that prioritize inclusion attract better talent and perform better. Dozens of studies have demonstrated that more-diverse teams make better decisions than less-diverse teams.
Many leaders know this but still struggle with making day-to-day work more inclusive.
By definition, inclusive leaders embrace the notion that every person counts. If that sounds fairly straightforward, it really isn’t. In bringing this mindset to life, leaders wind up embracing a number of unconventional management practices. They boldly depart from old standbys like credenti [...]
Vincent Tsui for HBR
Google’s battle with the European Union has come to a head. On June 27 this year the EU fined Google $2.7 billion for alleged monopolistic or unfair trade practices. Google has appealed and is now preparing its defense. The EU’s case asserts, among other things, that Google unfairly exploits its dominance in search engines and smartphone operating systems to restrict competition in shopping services, ad placement services, and smartphone app store markets. In an earlier article, two of us (Bala and Srinivasa) provided a context to understand the res [...]
How often have you put off doing something fun, like taking a trip or treating yourself, because you felt that you had too much work to do, and you had to get it all done first?
My laboratory has surveyed people from all walks of life about their preferences for ordering work and leisure. Time and time again, we hear the same thing: of course you can’t just leave and have fun before work is done. Work comes first, leisure comes second.
This sounds intuitive. No one wants to spoil a pleasurable experience because they’re worrying about their to-do list or feeling guilty for celebrat [...]
For leaders assuming the CEO title for the first time, taking time to learn and think translates into early successes. But the problem is there’s little time to do either. Information comes at them more quickly, more people than ever before demand their time, and they’re told that the myriad decisions piled in front of them are all important.
If hired from outside, there is a new culture to get used to and it’s not clear who to trust. Even when promoted from inside, the pace can be jarring compared to running a division in the same company. In both cases, [...]