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Echo Global Logistics, Inc., a leading provider of technology-enabled transportation and supply chain management services, announced today the appointment of Cheryl Johnson to the post of Senior Vice President of Talent. Ms. Johnson holds more than 16 years of progressive HR industry experience, which includes several executive-level appointments.

Ms. Johnson previously led talent management for retail chain Ulta Cosmetics. Prior to her time with Ulta, Ms. Johnson served as Divisional Vice President of Strategic Talent Management for Sears Holding Company and also spent time as Vice President of Human Resources for Fossil Inc.


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Bad Leadership and Management Advice You Should Run Away From

There’s a LOT of advice out there on leadership and management — almost as much as you’ll find on dating, careers, and how to raise your kids.
Actually, most of it’s pretty good, or at least not bad. I rarely come across an article in my daily SmartBrief on Leadership newsletter and say to myself “Well, that sure is a crock full of hooey!”


However, I’d recommend running away as far as you can from the following pearls of leadership and management wisdom:

1. “Ignore your weaknesses and leverage your strengths.” Try Googling any variation of this advice, and you’ll find plenty of credible sources telling you to ignore your strengths. This feel-good nonsense usually stems from a lazy misinterpretation of what’s referred to as the “strength-based leadership development” movement, made popular by Gallup, Marcus Buckingham, and countless other copycats. Gallup and Buckingham never said to ignore your weaknesses; the idea is to do whatever it takes to minimize your weaknesses (improvement, delegation, finding a different job, etc.). Ignoring a critical leadership weakness is a surefire path to leadership derailment.

2. “You need to know more than anyone who works under you.” I actually heard a senior vice president give this advice to a group of new managers. I wanted to set my hair on fire! Believing that you could possibly know more than the sum of everyone who works for you is arrogance at its worst!

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Too Pretty to Hire? When Jealousy Creeps into the Workplace

Regardless of your religious affiliation, you’re probably familiar with the story of David and Goliath.

(If not, spoiler alert: Goliath, a 9-foot-something giant, was knocked in the head and felled by a single stone from the slingshot of David, a mere teen at the time.)

But do you know what happened to David after he defeated Goliath? In a nutshell, David was given a place of honor in King Saul’s army and then spent the next several years beating the stuffing out of Saul’s enemies. 

You might think Saul would be pleased as punch to have such a kick-ass soldier on his team, but no. When the people started talking about how great David was, Saul went bananas and tried to have David killed — a few times.

Saul, you see, was crazy jealous of David. And it didn’t matter that David worked for Saul or that David’s victories were Saul’s victories.

It also didn’t matter that David was only doing his job and hadn’t provoked Saul’s envy. Saul still wanted David gone, like yesterday. Things got so bad, David had to flee into the wilderness.

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What Exit Interviews Reveal About Why Employees Leave

David Witt, writing in the Blanchard LeaderChat blog, recently highlighted the top 10 reasons why employees quit — from the employees’ perspective.

And, this is very different than the employer perspective in which “9 out of 10 will tell you it’s about the money.”

From a PwC study of 19,000+ employees who completed exit interviews with PwC clients, the results are clear: 


As David points out:

Better compensation is only a part of the reason why people leave an organization.  In most cases it is a symptom of a more complex need that people have to work for an organization that is fair, trustworthy, and deserving of an individual’s best efforts.  Don’t take your people for granted.  While you may not be able to provide the pay increases you were able to in the past, there is nothing stopping you from showing that you care for your people, are interested in their long term development, and are committed to their careers.”

Moreover, five out of the 10 reasons are directly related to supervisor skills or lack thereof (I include recognition for contributions in this category as too often this is fully reliant on the supervisor).

Indeed, employees do leave managers, not companies.

What have your reasons been for leaving organizations during your career?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.


What Do You Do When You Get Violated?

A friend told me a story recently of a contractor he used for home fix-up projects, who was frequently late, billed for things he said he wouldn’t, and forgot and omitted pieces of the project clearly discussed up-front.  

Curious, I asked my friend what he did about it.

Sheepishly, he said “Well, I mentioned something to him a year or so ago.  But nothing changed.”  

I asked:  Really?  So you dropped it?  Still working with him?  


Got anyone else you could use?  

“Yeah, one or two, but this guy knows his stuff, so I don’t want to change.”  

And there you have it.  This story trumpets today’s message:  Your life will be no better than the incompetence you tolerate.  

And most people do just that.  Tolerate it.  Let it slide.  Ignore it.  Turn their backs.  

Why?  In my observation, two reasons.  

One, unwillingness to confront someone’s bad behavior or unworthy performance because it makes them feel uncomfortable, queasy, ties knots in their stomach.  No, not the violator.  Themselves.  

Two, they don’t know the words to say.  When they’ve tried it, it came out awkward, ugly, weak, ineffective… so they caved in and never tried again.

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5 Characteristics of Elite Leadership Teams

By Linda Linfield, DecisionWise Contributor

It was still producing solid revenue results, but internal conflicts and damaged trust were inhibiting the team’s ability to align goals and support each other’s efforts. The team included the long-revered co-founders of the organization plus the heir apparent to the president’s role. These leaders were all committed to developing and empowering the next tier of company management. They wanted to see leadership courage in these individuals to tackle tough issues, the ability to collaborate and resolve conflict, and self-empowerment. They were concerned about the lack of trust among team members; the habits some had to operate in silos or cliques; and, the tendency to become impatient and critical of those with different business priorities, ways of working, and their ability to deal with conflict.

The challenge was compounded by the leaders themselves—

people naturally gravitated toward and looked for resolution from them. They had unintentionally become benevolent dictators – not in the sense of demanding their edicts be followed, but in the sense of creating a belief that every decision, no matter how minor, had to be approved or blessed from above. If a fundamental disagreement surfaced, resolution could only be achieved after it was escalated and debated or argued out at the top.

This belief and associated wait-and-see behavior produced a sense of powerlessness and resignation at the next level of company management, perceptions and concerns that were surfaced through a 360-degree feedback process. Once the senior leaders and managers became aware of their behaviors and the unintended impact they were having on each other, they committed to working with me on a strategic leadership journey. Our work would ultimately produce a high-functioning management team, an elite team that would demonstrate team member’s mutual support, develop productive ways of working together and resolving conflict, and establish real leadership at their own level.

Their accomplishments had a trickle-down effect in the organization. With their new awareness, skills, and commitment, they were also able to affect positive change and team behaviors within the functional teams for which they had responsibility.

So what are the characteristics of elite leadership teams?

Elite teams put their “first” team first and work together to achieve the team goals. Members organize the resources of the teams they manage to align with the strategy of the leadership team. Everyone has each other’s back and looks for ways to support each other’s success. They engage in healthy conflict about important issues and then support the final decision.

Here are five characteristics and behaviors of elite leadership teams:

  1. An elite team puts highest priority on the work of that team. This means that team members do not prioritize their functional team’s action items as more important than the leadership team’s action items.
  2. Team members can articulate the unifying goal to which they are all committed. They don’t parrot the same words, but when you hear them speak about the team purpose in their own words, you see how their perspectives are aligned. In addition to alignment around a common purpose, the team is aligned around how to accomplish the purpose.
  3. Individual members don’t always have to have decisions go their way – they listen, consider, and openly debate the way forward — then when the decision is made, they wholeheartedly support it and actively work to make it successful.
  4. Team members support each other, look out for each other, and give each other frank and honest feedback with the intention to help each other become even more effective.
  5. They talk frequently and look forward to spending time together because they value each other’s perspectives and contributions.

The 5 Kinds of Fatigued Employees – and How to Help Re-engage Them

I had the opportunity to present at SHRM in Orlando this week.

I was gratified to have a full session at the 7 am early-bird spot on Tuesday. I think the title of my session – How to Transform Employee Fatigue into Employee Engagement – may have resonated with SHRM attendees.

As I was able to discuss later at SHRM with John Hollon, editor of TLNT, employee recognition data has become a powerful tool to better understand our employees’ state of mind and ways in which we can influence them more effectively. 

For those unable to attend, I’d like to share the main points of my presentation in which I discussed the five primary types of “fatigued” employees. I shared a good many statistics, too, primarily from our Workforce Mood Tracker and SHRM/Globoforce surveys. (Full survey reports are available here.)

1. The Uninspired Employee

Symptoms: Doesn’t see meaning in their job (or how they fit into the mission of company).  They often lack motivation and drive.

To fully engage, day after day, employees need inspiration. We all need a sense of greater purpose and meaning for what we do beyond the day-to-day tasks.

When we recognize others for how they’ve contributed to the bigger picture, we help our colleagues gain that needed deeper meaning. And when we do so in the context of the core values of the organization, we help all employees understand more deeply the company conviction to do business right – achieve needed results, yes, but only when we can do so without violating our core values.

Indeed, 72 percent of companies (with recognition tied to core values) said employees felt fairly rewarded for performance. And values-based recognition has a profound impact and many factors that drive bottom-line value:

2. The “Checked Out” Employee

Symptoms: Can’t wait to run out the door when 5 pm hits or is going through the motions, content to “rack up” years of service without any meaningful motivation

Some 81 percent of companies celebrate milestone anniversary awards in some sort of Years of Service or Long Service program. And yet, only 15 percent of employees in these programs say receiving such an award helped them be more engaged. Indeed, 51 percent say a service award changed nothing.

Why is this? Well, 73 percent of employees say recognition is far more meaningful when it includes feedback from others – peers and colleagues – as well as their managers. That’s why a much more modern approach to service anniversaries intentionally involves others in the celebration moment.

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The Top Five Workplace Time-Traps

By Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro Blog

Remember cartoon character George Jetson’s grueling two-hour workday, which earned him a deluxe apartment in the sky? Whatever happened to that future? Instead of enjoying a shrinking workweek due to better technology, as we’ve expected for decades, the average American workweek has actually grown to nearly 60 hours!

How is it that we have less discretionary time and work harder than ever, even though technological breakthroughs have made us all incredibly productive?

To be blunt, some of it’s due to simple inefficiency. I’ve been a productivity expert for two decades, and I see my colleagues and clients battling the exact same dragons over and over again. In this month’s column, let’s take a look at the five biggest time-traps that drag down our productivity, and how to deal with them.

Trap #1: Poor Prioritization

Poor prioritization comes in two basic flavors: either you can’t effectively juggle multiple tasks on your own, or you’re trying to please a boss who labels everything urgent and top priority. Either flavor can generate the paralysis of analysis, in which nothing significant gets done, or the need to work longer just to keep up with the workload.

Whatever the cause, if you find yourself in this time-trap, you may soon fall prey to overwork and overwhelm. The solution is one of those “easy to say, hard to do” conundrums: you have to confront the problem and wrestle it into submission before it destroys your productivity altogether.

If your lack of organization is the problem, sit down and start ruthlessly triaging your daily to-do list. Reduce your must-do tasks to the few items that truly matter, based on your job requirements and whatever your supervisor assigns to you. Drop anything you can, give misplaced tasks to the people they really belong to, and delegate others whenever possible. Move “someday” tasks back to your Master List until you have time to deal with them.

If your boss considers everything he assigns you top priority, due yesterday, then meet with him and respectfully ask that he realistically prioritize your projects. If he can’t or won’t, then you’ll just have to do it yourself.

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Correcting Leadership Communication Mishaps 

By Shari Alexander, Contributor

The right intention, but the wrong words. Virtually every leader has messed up at some point by saying the wrong thing, even with the best of intentions.

If an entry-level employee utters the wrong thing, chances are all the person has to do is express regrets to one person and all’s well again. But the higher up someone is on the organizational chart, the more damage can be done by misspeaking. Which means that if leaders slip up and say the wrong thing by mistake, they should prepare themselves for multiple meetings, memos and public apologies. 

It’s not hard to find recent examples of corporate leaders putting their foot in their mouth. Donald Sterling has been pressured to sell the LA Clippers after his racist remarks were publicized and Lululemon founder Chip Wilson resigned as  chairman after remarking that “some women’s bodies just don’t actually work” for the company’s pants. 

And last week TV show host and author Dr. Mehmet Oz was asked to answer questions in a congressional hearing to explain his comments and endorsements of certain weight loss products on his show.

Being in front of the public means being under scrutiny. The words of anyone in a leadership post will be dissected and scrutinized more than anyone else’s. A leader’s intentions may be good, but sometimes the wrong words are used to express something. When facing the predicament of having to backtrack and explain ill-advised comments, try the following strategies to navigate through:

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Workplace Communications: Yes, Sometimes We Still Need to Talk

I’ve been picking up the phone and calling my most important clients,” he said. “You can’t stop because there’s no email.

This was a quote based on the outage of MS Outlook this past week. The Washington Post headline blared MS Outlook outage brings offices back to the 1980’s.

For the people who were working in corporate, this was an era when there was no email to speak of, and for that matter, no computers. I had an office on Sixth Avenue in New York at that time and all I had was a phone on my desk. That was it. 

Afraid of being out of touch?

But I was in sales back then and that was all I needed. I broke every sales record at that time with just a phone. Even today, when I need to get it done and over with, I simply pick up the phone and dial.

As I read that Washington Post headline, I thought that maybe, just maybe, we could get more done if we did not hide behind the modern-day forms of communication. We have conversations today but they are ground in modern technology: email, and increasingly, text messages, Facebook messenger, Twitter, etc.

I travel quite a bit and I notice that in airports that you can always tell where the power outlets are because people are congregated around them recharging their mobile devices. They are being charged not, for the most part, to make a call, but to be able to communicate across the other platforms.

As you notice people, everyone is staring at the screen. My 85-year-old mother-in-law mentioned to me a while back that every time she travels she notices that people are not talking on their phones but are staring at the screen.

I realized that this was a conversation that I could not continue with her because she just would not understand what I was talking about. She uses her cell to make a call and then turns it off immediately. She thinks it costs more to keep it on.

Are we that afraid of being out of touch? Here in the Middle East where I work, everybody basically has two (2) phones and some will have three. When I’ve asked why, I never seem to get a credible explanation.

The Baltimore-Washington Airport (BWI) recently turned a bank of pay phones into charging stations. No one was using the public phones, so now those old style phones provide 184 outlets and USB ports at BWI for our new style of communication

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10 Difficult Coworkers and How to Cope With Them

Getting along with coworkers mostly means minding your own business, according to Geoffrey James, author of Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.

          “However, there are some coworkers who need a little ‘handling,’” he explains. “It’s not difficult once you’ve spotted the behaviors.”

          Here are 10 of the most difficult coworkers:

1. The Waffler
Wafflers study everything to death, always seeking that mythical single last bit of information that will make a decision into a no-brainer. If your project hinges on a waffler, establish a deadline, with a default if no course of action is chosen.

2. The Competitor
The competitor defines the world as a zero-sum game. He always must feel that he’s won and that someone else has lost. To deal with him, channel that competitiveness into helping his team win (and somebody else’s team lose).

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