6 ways to reengage and strengthen your middle managers

Make coming back to the office a not-to-miss event | practice (split each time) | 6 ways to reengage and strengthen your middle managers
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March 6, 2024
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Leading the Way
Make coming back to the office a not-to-miss event
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Motivate employees to return to the office by avoiding a one-size-fits-all policy, identifying ways to create more connection in person and bringing back unique events or features that employees enjoyed and looked forward to, writes author and leadership expert Michael Lee Stallard. Also, take care to offer flexibility and consider the needs of your neurodivergent team members by creating a psychologically safe office environment to increase engagement and productivity, writes Sarah Henson, a senior behavioral scientist at CoachHub.
Full Story: Michael Lee Stallard blog (3/4),  Fast Company (tiered subscription model) (2/29) 
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Put it into practice: Refrain from subjecting your local employees to remote meetings from the office, Stallard advises, saving in-office requirements for truly face-to-face interactions. Educate your neurotypical team members on the needs of their neurodivergent peers so those times when everyone is in the office feel safe and comfortable for everyone, adds Henson.
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SmartBrief on Leadership
6 ways to reengage and strengthen your middle managers
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Good middle managers can make or break your company, and it's important to cultivate, nurture and recognize them, writes Tammy Perkins, a chief people officer who has worked with Fortune 100 companies. Leaders can start by whittling away organizational bureaucracy, which middle managers say is the biggest impediment to getting more important tasks done well.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Leadership (3/5) 
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Put it into practice: Give middle managers clarity of duties, a culture of belonging and the reason behind the whys. Help them grow with scenario-based learning, and lead them with a collaborative spirit, Perkins advises.
Read more from Tammy Perkins on SmartBrief on Leadership
Smarter Communication
Few things crush team spirit and the will to achieve more than an unfortunate, collaboration-killing choice of words from a leader, write leadership consultants Karin Hurt and David Dye. Rush to button your lips before "That's a terrible idea!" slips out, and similarly, simmer down and take a breath before letting "We don't have time for this!" slip out, they urge.
Full Story: Let's Grow Leaders (3/4) 
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Put it into practice: "Let's agree to disagree" may seem agreeable, but it means shutting down communication and stifling collaboration, Hurt and Dye say. "It's too late to change course now" ignores the possibility of savvy ideas for pivots and discourages team members.
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In Their Own Words
Leaders must be at the forefront of change, discarding their own "beloved" stories and biases and committing to becoming "indivisible" -- seeking the fulfillment of everyone without regard to perceived differences, writes Denise Hamilton, the founder and CEO of WatchHerWork. "There is no 10-second solution for 10-generation problems. We must find and cultivate a well of patience and a commitment that can withstand challenges when they inevitably come," Hamilton writes.
Full Story: Next Big Idea Club Magazine (3/1) 
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Daily Diversion
New tools bare some of star dune's secrets in Morocco
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Luminescence dating methods have estimated the age of one of Earth's oldest star dunes for the first time, putting Morocco's Lala Lallia at 13,000 years old. Ground-penetrating radar also reveals that the dune is moving almost 49 centimeters west every year and shows how wind and rainfall deposited layers over 900 years until the pyramid reached a 73-meter height and a 700-meter width, researchers write in Scientific Reports.
Full Story: Popular Science (3/4) 
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SmartBreak: Question of the Day
Which song won an Oscar for Best Original Song for Jay Livingston and Ray Evans and also topped the Billboard 100 (with Nat King Cole's version) in 1950?
Vote"The Christmas Song"
Vote"Mona Lisa"
Vote"Route 66"
Vote"Unforgettable"
About The Editor
Candace Chellew
Candace Chellew
Chellew
"Let's agree to disagree." How many times had I said this phrase, thinking that I was extending a fig leaf to whomever I was speaking to when I was just tired of arguing and wanted to move on.

This is one of the phrases Karin Hurt and David Dye say kill collaboration and send a message to your team that you're not interested in hearing their ideas or perspective.

How often have you used these phrases?

  • "It's too late to change course now"
  • "I've done my part, the rest is up to you"
  • "That's a terrible idea"
  • "We don't have time for this"

If you've uttered them, it was probably because you wanted to move on or you were too frustrated to hear another point of view at that moment. Catch yourself next time, take a deep breath, and choose "phrases that promote an atmosphere of innovation, openness, and collaboration."

Which phrases have you used? Please take the poll above and let me know.

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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If you want to stay young, you have to think young. Having a sense of wonder, a sense of humor, and a sense of curiosity -- these are my tonic.
Iris Apfel,
businessperson, interior designer, fashion icon
1921-2024
March is Women's History Month
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