Fresh Look – Benefit selling

If there is one theme that I emphasized in my courses, it was benefit selling—the crafting of influence attempts to emphasize the gains associated with the desired behavior tailored to the influence target. That last phrase is key to the…

Fresh Look – Stigmatized political identities

Mention the term “stigma” and most of us think about people who are out of the conventional mainstream: gay, racial/ethnic/religious minorities, disabled, or diseased. We typically don’t think of people who are committed to causes that are at odds with…

Inauthenticity as a leadership tool

I remember once interviewing Charles Schwab. The ethics center I was directing had a contract to give ethics training to Schwab managers, and I wanted a sense of how committed the company was to ethical dealings. I remember our conversation…

Fresh Look – Emotionally adroit office politicians

Emotions are contagious.[1] When you go to a meeting where everyone else is acting cheerfully and optimistically, it can’t help but buoy your spirits. Similarly, contact with an angry customer often leads you to displace your frustration on others nearby.[2]…

Fresh Look – acting politically while seeming apolitical

Effective office politicians know that their actions must appear legitimate. This means that they have to be careful to satisfy three criteria.[1] First, political actors must appear to promote collective (i.e., organizational) versus personal interests. Second, they must abide by…

Fresh Look – Do you value employee inputs? Don’t worry, be happy!

Speaking up to a boss is a political event, and it is unlikely to occur in high political organizations.[1] However, if you are a boss who wants your people to open up to you, there is hope. A new study…

Paltering

Research on the subject of deception has distinguished lying by commission from lying by omission. The former refers to the use of false statement (e.g., agreeing with the boss when one clearly does not) while the latter involves misleading by…

Playing the game when you feel insecure

When employees feel insecure due to reorganizations, downsizing, or replacements, they often resort to facades of conformity (i.e., suppressing disagreeable personal values and pretending to embrace organizational values). While such facades may provide temporary avoidance of negativity, they paradoxically result…

Confidentiality, NDAs and a lack of candor

Secrets are a ubiquitous feature of organizational life. Professionals are duty bound to keep secrets about their clients, employees are required to keep organizational secrets, and signers of non-disclosure agreements are contractually required to keep business secrets from people outside…

When thanking people, do it right!

Expressing gratitude is a powerful gesture. Existing thinking is that thanking people will have the desired effect only if recipients feel understood, validated, and cared for while being thanked.[1] However, a new study shows that a more critical element of…