In dynamic and competitive markets, it's almost universally understood that the old ways of working don't work any more. Every company has to think outside the box if it is to achieve higher levels of performance. Creativity is the tool that allows teams to work faster, and smarter, and quickly find their way to workable solutions to unique problems.
Anyone who has worked in business has, at some point or another, smelt the stench of stale teams. Teams that started out as a success story, wowing clients and higher ups with their creativity, commitment and enthusiasm, can quickly grow complacent. The fact is, it's a hard slog to sustain a high-performing team. Serious graft is required to keep team members rowing in the same direction week after week, year after year.
Though we often think about dialogue as a simple conversation between two or more people, it is better defined as the medium through which people with different viewpoints may voice and share possibilities. It requires a number of skills beyond talking: setting aside ego, listening without judgment, creativity, and problem-solving. The idea is that people with alternative perspectives work together so that everyone may attain a deeper collective understanding of the issues. It's a pretty tough ask.
Look around the workplace, and it's clear that conversation isn't what it used to be. Across the office, people are frantically reading, typing, and hitting "send" on emails, texts and social media. We're communicating all the time, perhaps more than ever before. Ironically, everyone's too busy to have an actual conversation.
All work and no play can make Jack a very dull boy — and it can also lead to stress, absenteeism, and burnout. Even the most confident manager can find it difficult to motivate a diverse team of individuals who are so under pressure, they've forgotten how to enjoy their job.
Most managers and HR professionals are convinced that making work fun boosts an employee's ability to perform at optimum levels and deliver a better-quality service, even under the toughest of working conditions. But how do you go about lightening up your work setting?
In today's economic landscape, it's more important than ever for businesses to accomplish more with less; a process known as boosting productivity. Productive employees output more work per specific unit of time than less productive employees. It is this increased efficiency that makes the business money.
But keeping employees productive is hard work. Why? Because productivity is primarily an inside job. You can't force it on someone. It comes from within a person and, essentially, is a measure of their motivation to close down tasks within a clearly defined timeframe.
One of the biggest sources of workplace conflict shows up in differences on the fourth dimension of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator - Judging versus Perceiving. A person whose style is "J" will schedule things in advance, organize their work with attention to deadlines and keep their eyes firmly on the goal. A "P" on the other hand, is pretty loose and free wheeling. They like to work on multiple projects simultaneously and to keep their options open until the very last minute, rather than forming a plan ahead of time.
There's no shortage of guidance about how to respond to negative feedback. Whether the criticism comes as a shock or is entirely expected, the same advice is consistently touted: Listen carefully, don't get defensive, and act on the feedback to improve your performance.
Anyone who applies for a senior position in a collaborative environment should prepare for the possibility of a peer-to-peer interview. Organizations will often schedule one as a final stage in the hiring process when they're fairly confident about your candidacy. The idea is to turn you over to your potential teammates, or peers, who will grill you to make sure you're a team player and can rub along nicely in the trenches.
People get promoted for all sorts of reasons, not all of which have to do with their skills, qualifications or seniority. So if you suspect that your boss has less experience than you, you may be right.
Working under a less-experienced manager can be incredibly demoralizing, especially if your manager is an energetic, young upstart fresh out of school. So what do you do? Raise a ruckus, complain to your coworkers, or simply keep your head down? And how do you get what you need to further your own career, when you're not sure that your boss can teach you anything?