Stepping down presents a real chance to stand up

Weigh the consequences of reporting workplace trauma | practice | Stepping down presents a real chance to stand up
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November 28, 2023
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Leading the Way
Weigh the consequences of reporting workplace trauma
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Whether it is discrimination, harassment or some other form of workplace trauma, deciding to report it may not bring immediate relief and may do damage to your career, writes Deepa Purushothaman, the founder of the re.write, which is why you need to be aware of how the company handles such issues and what kind of support is required in the moment and perhaps long afterward. "Although the healing process is heavy and can be convoluted, there are success stories of people making a full comeback after facing a toxic situation," Purushothaman notes.
Full Story: Harvard Business Review (tiered subscription model) (11/27) 
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Put it into practice: The stress you feel after reporting a toxic incident at work can make you second-guess your decision, writes Purushothaman, but if you persevere, there's a good chance you (and your career) can bounce back stronger than ever. "Years after they reported and processed the emotions around the event, most people said they learned key skills they value and depend on now."
 
SmartBrief on Leadership
Stepping down presents a real chance to stand up
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Savvy companies know CEO succession is far more than here today, gone tomorrow -- it requires a thoughtful process and, ideally, a smooth handoff. Be a stand-up leader when stepping down, and prepare your replacement with celebratory introductions around the company and a straightforward review of existing and coming challenges, Purpose Linked Consulting CEO Alaina Love recommends.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Leadership (11/27) 
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Put it into practice: Focus on the five D's with the incoming executive. Share the depth of company financials, talent, product offerings, competitive threats and disruption, Love advises.
Read more from Alaina Love on SmartBrief on Leadership
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Smarter Communication
Sam Altman's "masterful communication abilities" -- and the extreme force that communication skills play in leadership -- help explain Altman's rapid reinstatement to OpenAI this month shortly after his dismissal, writes Harvard University senior research fellow Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio. Communication breakdowns can have severe consequences, but developing stellar communication skills can have tangible and intangible results.
Full Story: Forbes (tiered subscription model) (11/26) 
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Put it into practice: "Altman's knack for connecting with employees and stakeholders on a profound level, exhibiting empathy and insight, was pivotal in mending fences and cementing his role as CEO once again," Cecchi-Dimeglio writes. Adapting to other communication styles, ensuring clarity, probing others and eliciting and acting on feedback are important communication skills.
Smarter Strategy
SmartPulse
When someone you're negotiating with makes a completely unreasonable demand, how do you react?
I counter with something I can accept
 57.23%
I tell them they're unreasonable and to come back with something better
 30.39%
I stop negotiating entirely
 3.83%
I ignore their demand and proceed as if it was never made
 8.55%
Unreasonable demands can end a negotiation. While almost 60% of you will counter with a proposal you can accept when you get an unreasonable demand, 30% of you shut it down, and another 4% walk away entirely.

When negotiating, you must consider the implications of relationships. Making unreasonable demands can damage existing relationships and doom new ones. Ask yourself if the short-term benefit is worth it when you make what might be perceived as an unreasonable demand.

Also, question if the relationship will be worth it when the other party makes unreasonable demands. If there won't be an ongoing relationship, working hard to get the best deal you can is acceptable -- recognizing your reputation will follow you.

Consider a successful negotiation to be one where everyone walks away from the table mildly dissatisfied. This feeling usually means everyone got much of what they wanted, and no one gave up too much.

-- Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS, which includes TITAN -- the firm's e-learning platform. Previously, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a West Point graduate and author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."
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In Their Own Words
Helen Chang, managing director at PGIM, has a background in Wall Street and banking and says her Asian culture often made her reticent to speak up, but by learning the industry inside and out, she gained both confidence and respect. "But you need to work hard and know your stuff: you can't bluff. Because once you start bluffing, people don't believe you," Change notes.
Full Story: The Glass Hammer blog (11/27) 
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Daily Diversion
The "Word of the Year" reveals a search for the truth
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In a time when it's easy to fall for disinformation and scams, more people are seeking to learn the meaning of "authentic," which is the Merriam-Webster word of the year for 2023, beating out other popularly searched words such as "kibbutz" and "deepfake." This year represents a crisis in authenticity, says editor at large Peter Sokolowski, which means, "when we question authenticity, we value it even more."
Full Story: The Associated Press (11/27) 
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SmartBreak: Question of the Day
Pro baseball player Lou Gehrig ended his streak of consecutive games played at 2,130. Who broke that streak?
VoteSteve Garvey
VoteRickey Henderson
VoteCal Ripken Jr.
VotePete Rose
About The Editor
Candace Chellew
Candace Chellew
Chellew
It should come as no surprise that "authentic" is Merriam-Webster's word of the year. The term has been cropping up for years in leadership circles as we're encouraged to be "authentic" in our methods, bringing transparency and honesty to the table to build trust. It's a challenge in this day and age of division and disinformation.

That can undoubtedly set the stage for toxic behaviors in the workplace, such as discrimination or harassment based on ethnicity, political beliefs or other perceived differences. Reporting such incidents is never an easy decision, as re.write founder Deepa Purushothaman notes in her article. Going through the reporting process can often be as stressful as the original offense, but it can be worth it in the long run.

Meanwhile, we can take a page from Sam Altman's communication style at OpenAI. His departure and quick return after an employee revolt show how loyal teams can be to their leaders when they lead openly and authentically.

If this newsletter helps you, please tell your colleagues, friends or anyone who can benefit. Forward them this email, or send this link.

What topics do you see in your daily work that I should know about? Do you have praise? Criticism? Drop me a note. And don't forget to send me photos of your pets, your office and where you spend your time off.
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Reading is going toward something that is about to be, and no one yet knows what it will be.
Italo Calvino,
writer, journalist
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