David Lee

David Lee is the founder and principal of HumanNature@work and the creator of Stories That Change. He's an internationally recognized authority on organizational and managerial practices that optimize employee performance, morale, and engagement. He is also the author of "Managing Employee Stress and Safety," as well over 60 articles and book chapters. You can download more of his articles at HumanNature@work, contact him at david@humannatureatwork.com, or follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/humannaturework.

Articles by David Lee

HR Insights, Talent Management

How Bullies and Barbarians Can Ruin Your Workplace Culture

Bad Behavior in the office

A friend and I were sharing “speaker war stories” recently, prompted by his jaw-dropping experience earlier that week.

Here’s what happened…

Just as my friend was about to start his presentation, an audience member took a call on his cell phone. He didn’t just take the call, though.

He vamped for the audience, saying in a loud voice at the end of the call “No I will NOT have sex with you.” When he hung up, he looked at my friend on stage and announced: “That was your wife.” Read more…

Talent Management

Building a Better Workplace Through Better Listening

Photo by istockphoto.com

Think of times you’ve experienced the following scenarios:

You’re talking with another person, sharing your ideas or point of view. They nod their head as you speak, indicating they are tracking you. However, when they respond, it’s clear they had no idea what you were talking about.

You ask someone “Do you know what I mean?” after explaining something to them, and they assure you they do. Yet, when you ask them what they heard, what they fed back to you is not even remotely close to what you said. Read more…

HR Management, Talent Management

The Challenge of Dealing with Difficult People and Difficult Conversations

© aliasching - Fotolia

Often when working with groups or coaching individuals on how to engage people in constructive conversations around difficult issues, I’ll have someone say “Why do I have to be the one to do all the work? They’re the ones with the problem.”

They then go on to explain how the other person is the one who A) behaved badly; B) isn’t doing their job; C) acted inappropriately.

They bristle at the suggestion that THEY do the work to “get their head and heart right” before the conversation, as I recommend. I’ve found over the years, from both personal and professional experience, that the time spent getting into a more productive emotional state and a wiser, more thoughtful mental state before the conversation is time well spent. Read more…

Leadership, Talent Management

What Effect Do You Have on People? Are You a Net Positive or a Negative?

Positivejob

At a recent event, I noticed the dramatic difference between an entrepreneur’s demeanor when he interacted with me, compared to moments later when he interacted with another person.

With me, Jack expressed enthusiasm and optimism for his start-up business (which, btw, I believe will be a game-changer for monetizing the social sharing of images on Pinterest and through other social media). As I asked him questions and listened intently, he eagerly shared new developments and spoke freely about his plans.

Then, a man who I’ll call Walter, came by and started to talk with Jack. Walter also knows Jack and knows that Jack’s business has tremendous potential. After shaking hands, he immediately asked Jack about his progress in a particular aspect of his business. Read more…

Talent Management

Three Critical Conversations that Boost Employee Engagement

Illustration by istockphoto.com

In our TLNT article Despite Your Best Efforts, Why Aren’t Your Employees More Engaged?, we promised to provide follow-up “How to” articles on how get the information you need from your employees about how to boost their engagement.

As we noted, the information you need to boost employee engagement, is NOT found in surveys, but through individual one-on-one conversations.

Why? Because employee engagement is an individual experience. Read more…

HR Insights, Talent Management

The Power of Feedback in Improving Employee Performance

123RF Stock Photo

I’ve got a cool story for you about the power of sharing feedback — both positive and negative.

A while back, I wrote a letter to the president of my credit union (let’s call her Sarah). I wanted to let her know about a teller who was consistently cold and impersonal. Whether she was waiting on me or another member, she would have this sullen, “I hate my job” expression.

I never saw her looking friendly or happy. Ever. Read more…

Culture

How to Create a Workplace You Would Love To Work In

© gstudio - Fotolia.com

 My vision is to create a world I want to live in.” – Peter Bregman

Peter Bregman, founder of the Bregman Leadership Institute said this at a recent (and amazing) leadership program.

While his vision deeply resonated with me on a personal level, I also found myself thinking about what a great message it would be when applied to the workplace. Read more…

Leadership, Talent Management

How to Unleash the Awesome, “Can Do” Spirit In Your Employees

Can Do

I loved the video below (People Are Awesome 2013) so much, I used it in two recent presentations on how to cultivate a resilient workforce.

Now, I didn’t just share this video because it was so fun and uplifting; I shared it because it is a great metaphor for the following:

  1. The potential people — including your employees — have to do awesome things; Read more…
Talent Management

Despite Your Best Efforts, Why Aren’t Your Employees More Engaged?

Illustration by istockphoto.com

By David Lee and Jacob Schneid

Despite millions of words written and millions of dollars spent on improving employee engagement, the needle has barely budged over the years.

From Gallup’s State of the American Workplace:

While the state of the U.S. economy has changed substantially since 2000, the state of the American workplace has not. Currently, 30 percent of the U.S. workforce is engaged in their work, and the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees is roughly 2- to-1, meaning that the vast majority of U.S. workers (70 percent) are not reaching their full potential — a problem that has significant implications for the economy and the individual performance of American companies. Gallup’s research shows that employee engagement remains flat when left unmanaged.” Read more…

Leadership, Talent Management

Are You Giving Employees What They Truly Hunger For?

123RF Stock Photo

At a recent event on how non-profits can use social media, self-professed Twitter junkie Jessica Esch, from United Way of Greater Portland, shared her social media secret sauce for successfully engaging followers.

One of her secret sauce ingredients stood out for me because it’s a phrase, and a practice —  love and try to do — yet we never see talked about in the corporate world. This is a shame because this practice is not only a great way to engage people in the social media world, it is also a game-changing offline strategy for engaging employees. Read more…