When you’ve put long hours into a project, you want proper credit for it. It can be frustrating to watch a co-worker present your collective work as his or her own.
When someone steals the show, take these steps to put things right:
• Have a candid, face-to-face conversation.
Give specific examples. Point out that he or she claimed to stay up all night finishing the project, for example, when you both did. Many times just identifying the behavior will put an end to it.
• Go to your boss.
If you can’t resolve it with your coworker, go to your manager. Review the steps you’ve already taken. Suggest another solution or two that you’ve thought of, and ask your boss for input.
• Prevent it from happening again.
Next time you work on a project together, be clear up front about roles and responsibilities. Agree early on that you’ll share the visibility.
Adapted from the HBR Guide to Office Politics.
Talented people used to want high salaries and stable career paths, but now they want work with purpose.
Here’s how your company can offer candidates meaningful and attractive roles:
• Get serious about impact.
Determine the positive impact your organization seeks to make in the world. You don’t have to be a social enterprise to do good.
• Tell that story well.
Call it marketing or storytelling, but make sure you’re communicating how much you care about your mission and how you’re working toward it.
• Design roles for their future, not just yours.
Many people see a job as one of many stepping-stones they’ll visit over the course of a career. Focus on making your stone as attractive and inviting as possible. Decent pay, rewarding perks, and large doses of autonomy demonstrate that you take professional development seriously.
Adapted from “What Job Candidates Really Want: Meaningful Work,” by Nathaniel Koloc.
When starting a new job, you want to focus your first month on finding out as much as you can about the organization, the people, and your role. This can start before you assume the new job by browsing the company website and talking with people who know the organization well, such as former employees.
Soon after you begin the job, review detailed operating plans and performance data. Look through recent reviews for all of your direct reports. Meet with each of them one-on-one and ask about their view of the team and where it needs to go.
While you’re taking in all of this information, be sure to develop hypotheses about what you need to get done and the best way to go about it. And of course, all of this learning will generate additional questions, so never stop asking them even when you’ve started to take action.
Adapted from The First 90 Days, Updated and Expanded.
Working with friends can be fun. But to keep these relationships smooth, you need to follow a few rules.
First and foremost, never send a business email disguised as a friendly “hey, how are you?” Conversely, if you’re reaching out as a friend, don’t talk shop. Maintain a healthy separation between business and your personal lives. When you do need to reach out to a friend about business, do it under separate cover. Send a friendly email asking about her new job and her kids and give her a heads up that you are going to contact her separately about the proposal you discussed. That way, she can forward your professional message onto colleagues without all of the personal details in it.
It’s important to be both sociable and professional. But with friends, keep those things distinct.
Adapted from “Stop Mixing Business with Pleasure” by Jodi Glickman.
When star employees churn out great results, it’s tempting to pat them on the back and ask them to keep doing whatever it is they’re doing. However, it’s your job as a manager to understand the behaviors that drive those results and ensure they are in line with your company’s values.
Here are two ways to do that:
* Give separate behavior and results ratings.
When the two are combined, it is too easy to give employees a pass for bad behavior when they’re producing positive outcomes. Assessing them separately also ensures that you can give fair behavior ratings without obscuring the business results.
* Use a 360-degree assessment.
These do a better job of getting at behaviors and their impact on other employees. Use the findings to set behavioral goals that each employee can work toward, such as “treat my team with respect.”
Adapted from “Embedding Sustainability/Ethics into Performance Reviews” on the “Ask the Expert: Marc Effron, Miriam Ort” board of the HBR Answer Exchange.
When interacting with colleagues who work remotely, even the simplest gesture can be misinterpreted in the absence of the usual visual cues.
Here are three ways to make sure you’re understood when you’re not face-to-face:
• Picture your colleague.
When emailing or calling him, try to imagine your coworker at his desk listening to you. This visualization will increase your empathy and improve your chances of clearly saying what you mean.
• Spell things out.
Don’t just say, “Circle back with me,” for example. Be clear about follow up. Do you expect a phone call or an email? When?
• Respond promptly.
When you don’t reply right away to an email or voicemail, you leave the person wondering whether you value the relationship or not. Answer quickly, even just to say you’ll send a more complete answer later.
Adapted from “How to Avoid Virtual Miscommunication” by Keith Ferrazzi.
Before you launch a new product, you need to have an idea of how many people will buy it. There are two ways to do this. If you’re already selling products, it’s often easiest to start by looking at your existing customers. Who among them might find this new product useful? Then build up your forecast from there.
Think about other people who are similar to your current customers, including those in adjacent market segments. This is called a bottom-up approach. To do a top-down calculation, start with a large, diverse population (say the entire population of the U.S.) and then use a series of qualifying attributes, such as income level or age, to narrow your potential market.
To get the best of both of these methods, have two people on your team use each one and then compare the results.
Adapted from HBR’s Go to Market Tools: Market Sizing.