Delegation is one of the hardest management tools for leaders to learn.
We all understand that micromanaging your employees isn’t good for anyone, but when you’re used to being involved in everything, it can be hard to let go. It gets easier as you hire great people and implement sound processes—watching your company grow without your fingerprint on everything is a beautiful thing.
This piece was originally published in 2016 and has been updated to include new advice for teams in 2023.
What exactly does ostracism at work look like?
On the exclusion spectrum, you’ll find everything from accidentally leaving someone off a calendar invite to purposefully avoiding an individual in the lunchroom. Feeling ignored at work is a silent but hurtful experience.
The topic may seem trivial — “Are adults really so sensitive?” you might ask — but it’s one that can have a serious impact on your employees’ job satisfaction, performance, and happiness. A 2014 study questioned if a lack of attention could be more painful for victims than bullying. Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is often yes.
For many employees, the holidays offer a welcome break in routine. But for team leaders, the last few weeks of December put a pin in their team’s productivity.
When so many people take off at the same time, it leaves the few remaining souls at the office with a ton of work on their plates. They need to get more work than usual done, and in less time.
Every second they spend in their typical in-person daily standups/ Email Standups (that would otherwise help them track progress) eats away at time they could be using to pore through their mountains of work.
Frequent checkins are an important part of ensuring individuals are on track to meet their goals and working as a team. But especially when the holidays roll around, managers need to alter how they run standups and create additional support, without sacrificing their employees’ time or autonomy.
Here are some ways to revive your daily standups and simplify your workflow during holiday madness.
Not only is Google rated the #1 place to work year after year, but it’s one of most valuable companies on earth. And that’s by no coincidence. To get there, Google spent years perfecting their employee perks to create a positive and highly-productive environment.
But Google has only been able to grow into a $360 billion company by trying bold new things and constantly iterating their systems—not by blindly applying the successful models of other companies.
To succeed as a startup, you also have to be careful not to just adopt trendy fads, but rather find what works best for you through constant iteration. In fact, there are tons of companies that do the opposite of what Google does and thrive as a result.
Here are some examples of super successful startups that refrained from Googlifying their environment.
As an entrepreneur, you spend a lot of time psyching yourself out. You’re your own harshest critic.
However positive your intentions, however, driven and wonderful your team is, every day is not a good day. And because you’re the founder, overseeing the life of your business, those bad days can be terrifying.
Jess Lee, CEO and co-founder of style and social commerce platform, Polyvore, explains this familiar mental trap, where founders often fall into “moments of extreme unhappiness” and stress — even when your company is doing well.
Why does this clash happen? Lee explains: “Humans are terrible at understanding absolute values. We are best at understanding acceleration and deceleration, or rate of change.”
In other words, your state of mind pegs itself to whether your company is doing better or worse than yesterday, rather than overall. It’s easy to lose perspective.
The risk of being too hard on yourself and getting knocked around by rates of change is possibly making poor decisions and feeling miserable, which can also have serious implications for your mental and physical health.
The counterintuitive solution that leads to better decisions, increased motivation, and less unnecessary stress is not to work and push harder but to slow down your thinking.
There once was a man named Elliot. An intelligent, pleasant thirty-something guy, he had built a pretty good life for himself, with a family and a good job. But his life started to fall apart when he got a brain tumor the size of a small orange that compressed his frontal lobes — causing debilitating headaches and an inability to focus.
Even after a successful surgery to remove the tumor, Elliot’s life continued go downhill. His relationships unravelled, he couldn’t hold a job, and invested in a disreputable business scheme that lost him his savings. Something was still wrong with Elliot’s brain — damage to parts of his frontal lobe somehow resulted in an inability to feel emotion.
You’d think that this might have been beneficial at least for his work ventures, some ability to make calculating, rational, optimal decisions. But the opposite was true. After losing his emotions, he’d become hopelessly ineffective at business.
That can be a jolting lesson for many of us who consider emotion something to regard very lightly in the workplace. Emotions work, not as a barrier to getting things done, but to help us reason at a basic level and thrive.
Work is a social thing. It’s done with people, and at the very least, for people. At the same time, you are one person with a job to do. When those personal and social gears are out of alignment, when you’re not connecting with the people you spend so many hours a day with, you … Read more
Editor’s note: This post was first published in 2015. We’ve updated this post with new research and additional tips.
We live in the most distracting time in history. When else did people have access to so much information with so little effort?
It’s a phenomenon that can be both beautiful and terrible. You can easily stumble upon a new favorite song or a link to a book that changes your life. You can take personalized Portuguese lessons with a native speaker without leaving your house. Or . . .
Cats. So many cats. One click on a Facebook link can send you down the rabbit hole of lost time and missed productivity. Who knows how many hours and dollars you’re costing yourself in the long run.
Aside from “innovation,” few buzzwords carry as little real meaning in Silicon Valley and the broader tech sector than “culture.” While countless startups and established companies alike have seized upon the idea of corporate culture as a vehicle of employee attraction and a way to differentiate themselves in crowded markets, culture remains one of the … Read more
Startup founders begin with building new products and end up building new companies. Ultimately, some of the most successful companies not only reinvent a product or market, they change the way people work in a way that’s reflective of what they value most, and that’s embodied in their company culture.
To find out how startup leaders think about building companies that they themselves enjoy working in, we surveyed the founders of some of the most innovative startups out there to ask them one simple question:
What do you value most about your company culture, and what’s one important way that you contribute to it?
We received some amazing, proud and insightful responses from startup founders personally, another individual within the company who was eager to chip in, and the PR or marketing team.