Leadership & Management: Communication

63 Results

 

Why Businesses Need a Language Strategy

Organizations that effectively marry language strategy with their global talent management process gain a leg up on the competition, say Tsedal Neeley and Robert Steven Kaplan. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

Research Symposium 2014

Harvard Business School professors presented their research to colleagues, with topics including speaking up at work, a manager's responsibility to capitalism, and a strategy to fix the health care system. Open for comment; 0 Comments posted.

Has Listening Become a Lost Art?

Summing Up: Managers may have ears, but do they use them? Jim Heskett's readers offer opinions on why listening might be a lost art. Closed for comment; 30 Comments posted.

Pulpit Bullies: Why Dominating Leaders Kill Teams

Power interrupts, and absolute power interrupts absolutely. Francesca Gino and colleagues discover that a high-powered boss can lead a team into poor performance. Closed for comment; 24 Comments posted.

Overcoming Nervous Nelly

In situations from business negotiations to karaoke, Alison Wood Brooks explores the harmful effects of anxiety on performance—and how to combat them. Open for comment; 8 Comments posted.

Earnings Calls That Get Lost in Translation

Clear communication is critical for a successful earnings call. The challenge is doubly hard for foreign executives conducting calls in English. New research by Gwen Yu and Francois Brochet provides guidance to executives speaking to investors in any language. Closed for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Helping You Help Me: The Role of Diagnostic (In)Congruence in the Helping Process within Organizations

Coming up with new ideas and solving difficult problems in modern organizations is increasingly accomplished through collaboration and teamwork. Often when people collaborate to tackle a knowledge-intensive project, they still need external help to achieve their goals: advice, assistance with task completion, team coaching, mentoring, and/or socio-emotional support. Yet we know little about the helping process itself. Indeed, sometimes helping attempts are useless, or worse. By conducting a field study of helping in a major design firm, the authors of this paper analyzed how the helping process unfolded. In particular, they focused on aspects of the process, differentiating episodes that employees assessed as successful from those they deemed unsuccessful. They discovered that the key differentiator was whether the helper and the person being helped established "diagnostic congruence" at the outset - a shared understanding of the state of the project and what sort of help was needed. Overall, the study contributes to our understanding of helping in organizations by discovering the interactional influences on the success of a helping episode. It also sheds light on help from a process perspective, highlights the importance of timing in aspects of the process, and uncovers the prominent role of emotion in perceptions of unsuccessful helping. Read More

Do We Need to Extend ‘No Surprises Management?’

Summing Up: Jim Heskett's readers agree that 'no surprises management' should be practiced by bosses as well their direct reports. Closed for comment; 27 Comments posted.

Marissa Mayer Should Bridge Distance Gap with Remote Workers

Marissa Mayer's decision to bring work-at-home Yahoo! employees back to the office has set off a firestorm. Lakshmi Ramarajan writes on how to mitigate the problem. Closed for comment; 13 Comments posted.

Book Excerpt: ‘Talk, Inc.’

In their book Talk, Inc. Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind show how several global companies are adapting the principles of face-to-face conversation to improve companywide corporate communication. Closed for comment; 1 Comment posted.

The Power of Conversational Leadership

Communication is always a challenge, especially in multinational corporations. Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind discuss why it makes sense to adopt the principles of face-to-face conversation in organizational communication. Closed for comment; 24 Comments posted.

Why Is Trust So Hard to Achieve in Management?

Summing Up There are many reasons for the trust gap between employees and management—but also many ways to bridge the divide, according to Jim Heskett's readers. What do YOU think? Closed for comment; 108 Comments posted.

Breaking the Smartphone Addiction

In her new book, Sleeping With Your Smartphone, Leslie Perlow explains how high-powered consultants disconnected from their mobile devices for a few hours every week—and how they became more productive as a result. Such "predictable time off" might help phone-addled employees better control their workdays and lives. Open for comment; 33 Comments posted.

The Case Against Racial Colorblindness

Research by Harvard Business School's Michael I. Norton and colleagues shows that attempting to overcome prejudice by ignoring race is an ineffective strategy that—in many cases—only serves to perpetuate bias. Closed for comment; 23 Comments posted.

It’s Not Nagging: Why Persistent, Redundant Communication Works

Managers who inundate their teams with the same messages, over and over, via multiple media, need not feel bad about their persistence. In fact, this redundant communication works to get projects completed quickly, according to new research by Harvard Business School professor Tsedal B. Neeley and Northwestern University's Paul M. Leonardi and Elizabeth M. Gerber. Closed for comment; 65 Comments posted.

When Power Makes Others Speechless: The Negative Impact of Leader Power on Team Performance

History has shown that possessing a great deal of power does not necessarily make someone a good leader. This paper explores the idea that power actually has a detrimental effect on leadership, especially with regard to how it affects open communication within a team. Research was conducted by Leigh Plunkett Tost of the University of Washington, Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School, and Richard P. Larrick of Duke University. Read More

The Importance of ‘Don’t’ in Inducing Ethical Employee Behavior

In a new study, HBS professors Francesca Gino and Joshua D. Margolis look at two ways that companies can encourage ethical behavior: the promotion of good deeds or the prevention of bad deeds. It turns out that employees tend to act more ethically when focused on what not to do. That can be problematic in firms where success is commonly framed in terms of advancement of positive outcomes rather than prevention of bad ones. Closed for comment; 18 Comments posted.

John Kotter: Four Ways to Kill a Good Idea

Every visionary knows the frustration of pitching a great idea, only to see it killed by naysayers, say HBS professor emeritus John P. Kotter and University of British Columbia professor Lorne A. Whitehead. In an excerpt from their new book, Buy-IN: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down, the authors reveal strategies used by your critics—and how to defend against them. Read More

Introverts: The Best Leaders for Proactive Employees

Think effective leadership requires gregariousness and charisma? Think again. Introverts actually can be better leaders than extraverts, especially when their employees are naturally proactive, according to Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino. Closed for comment; 95 Comments posted.

Power Posing: Fake It Until You Make It

Nervous about an upcoming presentation or job interview? Holding one's body in "high-power" poses for short time periods can summon an extra surge of power and sense of well-being when it's needed, according to Harvard Business School professor Amy J.C. Cuddy. Closed for comment; 22 Comments posted.

Turning Employees Into Problem Solvers

To improve patient safety, hospitals hope their staff will use error-reporting systems. Question is, how can managers encourage employees to take the next step and ensure their constructive use? New research by Julia Adler-Milstein, Sara J. Singer, and HBS professor Michael W. Toffel. Read More

Managerial Practices That Promote Voice and Taking Charge among Frontline Workers

How can front-line workers be encouraged to speak up when they know how to improve an organization's operation processes? This question is particularly urgent in the US health- care industry, where problems occur often and consequences range from minor inconveniences to serious patient harm. In this paper, HBS doctoral student Julia Adler-Milstein, Harvard School of Public Health professor Sara Singer, and HBS professor Michael W. Toffel examine the effectiveness of organizational information campaigns and managerial role modeling in encouraging hospital staff to speak up when they encounter operational problems and, when speaking up, to propose solutions to hospital management. The researchers find that both mechanisms can lead employees to report problems and propose solutions, and that information campaigns are particularly effective in departments whose managers are less engaged in problem solving. Read More

One Report: Better Strategy through Integrated Reporting

Stakeholders expect it. And smart companies are doing it: integrating their reporting of financial and nonfinancial performance in order to improve sustainable strategy. HBS senior lecturer Robert G. Eccles and coauthor Michael P. Krzus explain the benefits and value of the One Report method. Plus: book excerpt from One Report: Integrated Reporting for a Sustainable Strategy. Read More

Firsthand Experience and the Subsequent Role of Reflected Knowledge in Cultivating Trust in Global Collaboration

How can workers better collaborate across vast geographical distances? Distributed collaboration—in which employees work with, and meaningfully depend on, distant colleagues on a day-to-day basis—allows firms to leverage their intellectual capital, enhance work unit performance, face ever-changing customer demands more fluidly, and gain competitive advantage in a dynamic marketplace. Research over the last decade, however, has provided mounting evidence that while global collaboration is a necessary strategic choice for an ever-increasing number of organizations, socio-demographic, contextual, and temporal barriers engender many interpersonal challenges for distant coworkers and are likely to adversely affect trust between and among workers across sites. In this paper that examines employee relations at a multinational organization, HBS professor Tsedal Beyene and MIT Sloan School of Management professor Mark Mortensen find that firsthand experience in global collaborations is a crucial means of engendering trust from shared knowledge among coworkers. Their findings reinforce the important role of others' perceptions in our own self-definition, and suggest a means of addressing some of the problems that arise in cross-cultural global collaborations. Read More

Conducting Layoffs: ’Necessary Evils’ at Work

"The core challenge for everyone who performs necessary evils comes from having to do two seemingly contradictory things at once: be compassionate and be direct," say Joshua D. Margolis of Harvard Business School and Andrew L. Molinsky of Brandeis University International Business School. Their research sheds light on best practices—typically overlooked—for the well-being of those who carry out these emotionally difficult tasks. Q&A Read More

Sharpening Your Skills: Leading Change

Nothing like a global recession to test your change-management skills. We dig deep into the Working Knowledge vault to learn about building a business in a down economy, motivating the troops, and other current topics. Read More

Innovation Communication in Multicultural Networks: Deficits in Inter-cultural Capability and Affect-based Trust as Barriers to New Idea Sharing in Inter-Cultural Relationships

What makes sharing new ideas across cultural lines so difficult? Given that disclosing new ideas makes one person vulnerable to the other, innovation communication requires trust. The literature on workplace relationships distinguishes affect-based trust—feelings of socio-emotional bond with the other—and cognition-based trust—judgments of the other's reliability and competence. Recent organizational psychology research on capabilities needed to work across cultures has also identified affect-relevant strengths such as confidence and nonverbal communication. HBS professor Roy Y.J. Chua and Columbia Business School professor Michael W. Morris survey a sample of business executives with diverse professional networks, assessing their inter-cultural capability and measuring both kinds of trust as well as idea sharing in their working relationships. Read More

How Frank or Deceptive Should Leaders Be?

HBS professor Jim Heskett sums up comments to this month's column. Given the possibility that a naturally pessimistic (or perhaps more realistic) CEO might adversely affect everything from market reactions to employee morale, HBS Working Knowledge readers' comments are full of advice for honesty, candor, and an optimistic bias. Closed for comment; 119 Comments posted.

Decoding the Artful Sidestep

Do you notice when someone changes the subject after you ask them a question? If you don't always notice or even mind such conversational transformations, you're not alone. New research by Todd Rogers and Harvard Business School professor Michael I. Norton explores the common occurrence of "conversational blindness." Q&A with Rogers. Read More

Communication (and Coordination?) in a Modern, Complex Organization

Coordination, and the communication it implies, is central to the very existence of organizations. Despite their fundamental role in the purpose of organizations, scholars have little understanding of actual interaction patterns in modern, complex, multiunit firms. To open the proverbial "black box" and begin to reveal the internal wiring of the firm, this paper presents a detailed, descriptive analysis of the network of communications among members of a large, structurally, functionally, geographically, and strategically diverse firm. The full data set comprises more than 100 million electronic mail messages and over 60 million electronic calendar entries for a sample of more 30,000 employees over a three-month period in 2006. Read More

Diffusing Management Practices within the Firm: The Role of Information Provision

Managers face a range of options to diffuse innovative practices within their organizations. This paper focuses on one such technique: providing practice-specific information through mechanisms such as internal seminars, demonstrations, knowledge management systems, and promotional brochures. In contrast to corporate mandates, this "information provision" approach empowers facility managers to decide which practices to actually implement. The authors examine how corporate managers diffused advanced environmental management practices within technology manufacturing firms in the United States. The study identifies several factors that encourage corporate managers to employ information provision, including subsidiaries' related expertise, the extent to which the subsidiaries were diversified or concentrated in similar businesses, and the geographic dispersion of their employees. Read More

JetBlue’s Valentine’s Day Crisis

It was the Valentine's Day from hell for JetBlue employees and more than 130,000 customers. Under bad weather, JetBlue fliers were trapped on the runway at JFK for hours, many ultimately delayed by days. How did the airline make it right with customers and learn from its mistakes? A discussion with Harvard Business School professor Robert S. Huckman. Read More

Encouraging Dissent in Decision-Making

Our natural tendency to maintain silence and not rock the boat, a flaw at once personal and organizational, results in bad—sometimes deadly—decisions. Think New Coke, The Bay of Pigs, and the Columbia space shuttle disaster, for starters. Here's how leaders can encourage all points of view. Read More

Mattel: Getting a Toy Recall Right

Mattel has been criticized heavily for having to recall not once but twice in as many weeks 20 million toys manufactured in China. But Mattel also deserves praise for stepping up to its responsibilities as the leading brand in the toy industry. Harvard Business School professor John Quelch examines what Mattel did right. Read More

Five Steps to Better Family Negotiations

Family relationships are complicated, even more so when your uncle, mother, or daughter is your business partner. Harvard Business School's John A. Davis and Deepak Malhotra outline 5 ways to analyze and improve dealmaking and dispute resolution while protecting family ties. As they write, family negotiations are difficult yet also contain built-in advantages. Read More

Alignment in Cross-Functional and Cross-Firm Supply Chain Planning

Organizational behavior has become an increasingly important aspect of operations management. In this paper, alignment refers to an organization's sales and manufacturing groups working toward the same target for the sales of a particular product. What are the best conditions in supply chain planning for alignment across functions and across the firm? Kraiselburd and Watson push the frontier of theory with their use of mathematical modeling and game theory. They show that seemingly behavioral and psychological effects may still occur if both parties are rational profit maximizers in an economic sense. Read More

Leading and Creating Collaboration in Decentralized Organizations

No matter how a multi-divisional organization is designed, it will need to find effective ways for its units to spontaneously and responsively cross boundaries. This paper discusses 3 key barriers to collaboration and information-sharing within an organization, and offers 3 strategies to overcome them. Read More

The Challenge of Managing National Security

What can we learn from mistakes made in managing national intelligence before 9/11? Professor Jan Rivkin discusses the difficulties of integrating a highly differentiated organization, and the dangers of overcentralizing decision making. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

Corporate Values and Employee Cynicism

A values-driven organization poses unique risks for its leaders—in particular, charges of hypocrisy if the leaders make a mistake. Sandra Cha of McGill University and Amy Edmondson of Harvard Business School discuss what to do when values backfire. Read More

Don’t Listen to “Yes”

It's essential for leaders to spark conflict in their organizations, as long as it is constructive. A Q&A with Professor Michael Roberto, author of the new book Why Great Leaders Don't Take Yes for an Answer. Read More

Reinforcing Values: A Public Dressing Down

Often the hardest part of a turnaround is improving bad interpersonal behavior in the organization. A Harvard Business Review excerpt by professors David Garvin and Michael Roberto. Read More

How Leaders Create Winning Streaks

Executive summary of a Harvard Business School Publishing Virtual Seminar presentation by Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, on "Confidence: How Leaders Create Winning Streaks (and Avoid Losing Streaks)." Read More

Sharing News That Might Be Bad

We've all taken a vow of transparency, but how do you give employees news that is potentially bad—but extremely ambiguous? Harvard Management Update suggests that managers draw from negotiation strategy. Read More

The New CEO’s Wrong Message

Any new CEO who tries to wield power unilaterally will pay for it, according to Harvard Business School professors Michael E. Porter, Jay W. Lorsch, and Nitin Nohria. An excerpt from Harvard Business Review. Read More

IBM Finds Profit in Diversity

Former CEO Lou Gerstner established a diversity initiative that embraced differences instead of ignoring them. In this Harvard Business Review excerpt, professor David A. Thomas describes why IBM made diversity a cornerstone strategy. Read More

How Leaders Build Winning Streaks

Confidence is infectious, says HBS professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, author of Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End. In this excerpt, she explains how leaders must bring out the best in others. Read More

How Team Leaders Show Support–or Not

What does a team leader do so that employees know they are being supported? A Q&A with HBS professor and creativity expert Teresa Amabile about new research. Read More

Waking Up a Sleeping Company

What do you do when you’re the new CEO and your employees tell you, "But that’s the way we’ve always done it"? An excerpt from Bill George’s new book, Authentic Leadership. Read More

Got a New Strategy? Now Make it Happen

Many strategies never take off for lack of honest discussion, say Harvard Business School's Michael Beer and co-author Russell A. Eisenstat. A Harvard Business Review excerpt. Read More

Leadership: A Matter of Sustaining or Eliminating Groupthink?

Fighting groupthink is probably just as worthy an endeavor as attaining "buy in." But what are the risks for the leader and his or her subordinates? What has worked for you? What hasn't worked? Closed for comment; 13 Comments posted.

Understaffed and Overworked: What Now?

When resources are scarce, you need a plan for managing your career, your team, and even your boss. Here's what works: balance, focus, and effective communication. Read More

Are You Supporting Your B Players?

B players are the heart and soul of top organizations, says HBS professor Thomas J. DeLong. Here’s why—and what you can do to manage B players better. Read More

Psychology, Pathology, and the CEO

In difficult times, organizational pathologies can cause a death spiral. Here’s how the CEO can win back the hearts and minds of staff, according to HBS professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter. Read More

Get Off the Dime!

If you want large-scale change in your organization, you must change people's behaviors, say authors John Kotter and Dan Cohen. In an excerpt from their new book, The Heart of Change: Real Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations, the authors outline the importance of imparting urgency to the troops. Read More

What it Takes to Lead Through Turmoil

What are the characteristics of companies that successfully transition in times of dramatic change? HBS professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter separates the leaders from the laggards in times of turmoil. Read More

How to Succeed With Your New Boss

We all know it's true: Managing up is as important as managing down. That's especially true when you are starting a relationship with a new boss. HBS professor Michael Watkins discusses the importance of clearly defining goals with your superior. Read More

The Quiet Leader—and How to Be One

Think of a business leader and who comes to mind? A brash type like Jack Welch? But real leaders solve tough problems in all kinds of ways, and often quietly, says Harvard Business School's Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr. Read More

Manager or Mentor? Why You Must Be Both

In a frank discussion on diversity with a large group of Harvard University managers, HBS professor David A. Thomas explains why managers need to do more than just mentor. Read More

Rethinking E-Leadership

Old-school leadership practices are back in the spotlight, according to consultant Melissa Raffoni. The boisterous dot-com style has died down, she writes in this Harvard Management Update article, and now it's time to air out the tried and true. Read More

From Tigers to Kaleidoscopes: Thinking About Future Leadership

What's up for leaders next year and in the next century? HBS faculty members Linda A. Hill, Christopher A. Bartlett, and Rosabeth Moss Kanter offer new insights in Management 21C: Someday We'll All Manage This Way, a new collection about 21st century leadership. Read More

What Makes a Good Leader?

Leadership comes in many shapes and sizes, and often from entirely unexpected quarters. In this excerpt from the HBS Bulletin, five HBS professors weigh in with their views on leadership in action. Read More

Under the Magnifying Glass: The Benefits of Being a Case Study

What is it like for a company to go under the business school magnifying glass? According to executives from four Latin American enterprises that have been the subject of case studies at HBS and elsewhere, the process is both nerve-wracking and intensely enlightening. While case studies may be a great way to educate students in an MBA classroom, they said, their companies discovered unforeseen advantages for themselves, as well. Read More