Great management behaviors

How to Build Passion Literacy at Work

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I just had a fantastic experience with a call center rep! I had to call American Express this morning. After going through the dreaded automated menu of multiple options, I heard a cheerful voice saying, “May I help you?”

I could go on forever about how fabulous this person was. No script, patient listening while I ranted in a somewhat disorganized way, she gave me more information than I thought I wanted. When I thanked her profusely for her wonderful service, she rhapsodized about how much she loves taking care of customers’ needs.

But she didn’t want anyone to know about what a great job she does. When I asked her her name (which she shyly gave me one piece at a time), I then asked her, “Who do I talk to about how wonderful you are?” After putting me … Continue Reading

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Miles of Wisdom: The First Thing to Know About Inspiring Great Customer Service

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(Note: Engaged employees are literally a wealth of knowledge. Whether they are high-performing individual contributors who love their jobs or managers who score high on the engagement surveys — if they love their work, they’ve got something to teach us all.  They’re better than a textbook. They’re better than a motivational seminar. They’re the real deal. And they’ve got great stories!

Because I interview engaged employees as part of my consulting practice, I’m collecting miles of wisdom in the form of great video footage. With the permission of my clients and interviewees, I’ll periodically post highlights from powerful conversations. Like this one.) Continue reading

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Don’t Fear the Beefer

Curious cow at a farm in Cambridge, UK

There’s this guy I know who had what can only be best described as a Jerry Maguire moment. In a fit of pique he unburdened himself about his job in a blog (but had the presence of mind to show it to his wife first for some serious vetting). I wasn’t there myself, mind you, but I’ve heard from several reliable sources that people actually stood up at their cubes the next morning and applauded. Sounds a little Hollywood to me, maybe it happened. Maybe it didn’t. But it definitely seemed to have happened in everyone’s hearts. Because the story prevails.

This is a company that has blogs galore, but everyone knows what you mean when you’re talking about this guy’s posting. You kind of say “the blog” in a lower, more momentous voice, like you would say, “the blob.”… Continue Reading

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Are You an Accidental Horrible Boss?

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Everyone has a story about at least one horrible boss. Oddly, though, there isn’t a commensurate number of people who have stories about being bully bosses themselves. You know the type. You see them on the evening news magazine shows: the folks who brandish guns at work; who discriminate against a race, gender, or religion in their promotion practices and then brag about it; bosses who hang their employees “in effigy” for the rest of the department to ridicule. The brutality of that kind of behavior is just so plain to see — unmistakable and inarguable.

But the most common behaviors that beat down the human spirit aren’t so easy to catch and stop the first time. What is truly unacceptable? The first time the boss pitches a screaming fit? Or the thirtieth time? The insults flung in private behind … Continue Reading

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Engagement Happens One Person At a Time

Abe is a corporate security expert who has devoted his life to his profession. Born in India to a Muslim family, he moved to the United States as a young man, went to school, discovered corporate security, and started a thriving security consulting firm using his birth name, which was immediately identifiable as being Muslim. Then 9/11 happened, and his practice predictably plummeted. A Secret Service agent friend of his took him aside one day and gave him this advice: “You have a choice. Keep your profession. Or keep your name. At this point in time, you can’t have both. Maybe later, but not right now.” Abe chose to keep his profession.

Because he had already converted to Christianity, he felt no religious allegiance to his name. So he adopted his American wife’s Anglo-Saxon maiden name. But what about “Abe?” … Continue Reading

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How To Make Your People Cry

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If I could do only one thing for the rest of my career it would be this: Interview ordinary people who love their work and discover their secrets to worklife passion. That is my calling, mission and passion of my tenure here on earth. More than just a nifty thing to do, understanding what brings passion to the hearts of everyday working people is the key to understanding what makes any company outstanding – in its community, in its industry, in the hearts of its customers and among its competitors. The voice of everyday employees who love their work is truly the anthem to a personal greatness that is within our grasp, no matter who we are.

There’s a reason why I’m writing about this topic this week. I always think of Rackspace Hosting this time of year. A couple … Continue Reading

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