New volley in the apology wars

I’ve written before about apologies.  Women do it too much, and it makes the social conduct code all murky because people then have gendered expectations for apologies AND falsely imbue those excessive apologies with all sorts of (mostly subconscious) baggage.  Bleah.  (Or, if you prefer, as my spellcheck seems to, BLERG.)

There’s some new research that would be interesting if it weren’t so poorly designed…but it’s fodder for a good rant, so here goes:

Out of the esteemed minds of researchers at Harvard Business School and Wharton, is a series of studies that they say points to this: when you apologize for things outside your control, you are seen as more trustworthy. Read more

Mailbag: My Board has social media ADHD

Q:  In general, my board is full of great, smart, very accomplished people.  But they are fixated on whatever new social media platform or app they read about last week.  They don’t use them, they don’t understand the difference between Facebook and Pinterest and Tumblr and Vine (and sometimes get the names wrong…I’m not kidding, one woman told me I was behind the times for not using “Pee – Interest” in my development strategy.)  How do I get them to realize that I’m already overworked and when I’m having a hard time getting our basic materials together, I can’t run a dozen separate social media accounts too?

A:  Kudos to you for standing your ground, which it sounds like you’ve done.  Too many folks find it easier to simply yield to their board member’s desires and create institutional profiles and accounts.  I’m waiting for someone to be brilliant enough to create an actual dating profile for their organization in hopes of turning OK Cupid into their next great fundraiser…because that’s probably more useful than throwing together yet another cut and paste social media identity without understanding how that particular platform is going to fit into your brand and overall visibility strategy.  And oh, yeah – you’re probably not going to be able to raise a lot of money through Facebook.

You know all that already.  Here are some tips for convincing your board that there’s no magic bullet to be found on instagram or twitter.  Read more

What to do with the bad eggs?

In any large enough workplace, you’ve got folks who pretty much play by the rules, and those who are  anything but good “citizens.”  Nothing that racks up to be a fireable offense, but a ton of misdemeanors – the kind that, left unchecked, can poison the morale of a team.  Prank-playing (pretty annoying when it’s just one person playing the pranks – “fun” for them, but no one else is in on the joke), extra-long breaks, etc.

Managing these folks is particularly challenging – they’re misbehaving, and you can tell it’s having an impact (on their work, the department or team or organization’s work)…but when it comes to actually disciplining them, it might feel petty to tell them that they really need to take shorter breaks.   Fewer trips to the coffee machine.  Shorter conversations with colleagues, and keep it professional, OK?  It’s easy to imagine that conversation going very poorly.

Ah, but you should, because: science!  Here’s how to get those problem people to turn things around. Read more

Do This, Don’t Do That: Good and Bad Ways to Deal With Stress

A lot of people will tell you that you can’t just ignore your problems.

Avoidance as a coping mechanism gets a bad rap – there’s a whole body of literature that shows it’s counterproductive to simply disengage from all the very real work problems that are causing your stress, ie, ignoring your problems doesn’t make them go away – often it makes things worse.

If you’re one of the people who’s reading this thinking “yeah, but I don’t know how else to cope!  I just can’t worry about all my work problems all the time,” well, I’ve got good news for you!   Read more