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Harvard Management Update: Top Headlines on Management and Leadership

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Leadership and management are ever-evolving, especially with the progression of employer-employee relationships in the country. With Harvard Management Update, executives and managers can get important leadership advice, actionable recommendations, and important information about workplace dynamics in an ever-changing terrain, which are specifically tailored to promote better management and overall rapport and dynamics in the workplace.

What do people need to perform at a high level?

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, American workers were struggling to reach their full potential. In a national survey we conducted of more than 14,500 workers across industries in 2017, approximately 85% of them said they were not working at 100% of their potential. In fact, only 15% of workers said they were. Moreover, 16% of respondents said they were using less than 50% of their potential. What was keeping the vast majority of workers from using all of it? And what was empowering the minority of people who reported that they were able to do so? In that research, we identified organizational, interpersonal and individual factors that contributed to a person’s capacity to do their job most effectively.

What Psychological Safety Looks Like in a Hybrid Workplace

Sorting out hybrid work arrangements will require managers to rethink and expand one of strongest proven predictors of team effectiveness: psychological safety. When it comes to psychological safety, managers have traditionally focused on enabling candor and dissent with respect to work content. The problem is, as the boundary between work and life becomes increasingly blurry, managers must make staffing, scheduling, and coordination decisions that take into account employees’ personal circumstances — a categorically different domain. Obviously, simply saying “just trust me” won’t work. Instead, the authors suggest a series of five steps to create a culture of psychological safety that extends beyond the work content to include broader aspects of employees’ experiences.
Upset businessman letting go balloons with employees` faces on them as a metaphor for remote work or losing talents

Remote managers are having trust issues

If we look at what is happening today and consider the many scenarios employees may be facing—especially those with compromised finances or families to care for—we can hypothesize that certain workers are struggling to perform at the same level as they did before. This could create a negative spiral in which manager mistrust leads to micromanagement, which then leads to drops in employee motivation, eventually impairing productivity.

Feeling uncomfortable with the reentry? You’re on the right track.

Many leaders are now tasked with figuring out how to meet the return-to-work challenge in a pandemic-ridden world. Covid-19 is an invisible and insidious enemy, a pathogen that promises to wax and wane for an indeterminate future period. Its unsettlingly long incubation time may render even the most rigorous workplace prevention efforts ineffective. All of this makes us anxious. To face these anxieties, leaders need a plan. Here are three paradoxical strategies—rooted in neuroscience and psychology—that can help.

5 tips for safely reopening your office

As businesses begin to reopen, great attention is being given to the measures required to keep employees and customers safe. Many of those measures are simple behaviors, such as washing our hands and wearing masks. But those measures won’t succeed unless they become norms. And for that to happen, people must not be afraid of calling out their violation. If noncompliance is rarely addressed, healthy behavior becomes a joke.
managing stress

Managers, adjust your expectations (without lowering the bar)

Most of the country has been sheltering in place and working from home for some time now due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This change came with obvious challenges to getting work done for those who live with others—be they roommates, partners, spouses or children. Then, there are those employees who do not have others at home and now have no commute. One might intuitively think these individuals would be just as productive working from home than in the office, or even more so, given that research shows remote workers get more done.
Organizational Change

3 Things You’re Getting Wrong About Organizational Change

Whether it’s through running a low-cost “embarrassment warm-up” or exploring the more complex idea of asset sharing, you have to make “adaptability” a part of daily life to survive and thrive in a risky, interconnected world in constant flux. This is not a one-off project, like building a house. It’s much more like a child in a state of continuous growth. And in my book, childlike openness, growth and renewal are exactly what we need right now.
furloughed worker

How to Make Furloughs More Humane

The major benefit of furloughs to employees is that workers have a job to return to, while companies don’t have to go through the painful and expensive process of rehiring and training new talent and losing someone they’ve spent years cultivating. Despite the obvious benefits, questions about implementation abound. Here are some important points managers should keep in mind when considering furloughs.

What Your Youngest Employees Need Most Right Now

Though the coronavirus has been merciless in its impact on people of all ages, the long-term effects on the Generation Z cohort are likely to be particularly severe. Overnight, these young people lost their daily interactions with the teachers who trained them, coaches who mentored them, clubs that fulfilled them and friends who sustained them through the painful ordeals of youth. Milestones such as proms, plays and graduation — crucial moments in the social and emotional development of an individual — swiftly vanished.
Business leadership and diversity and diverse group teamwork working together to form an alliance or coalition for success as a 3D illustration

How to Be an Inclusive Leader Through a Crisis

Leaders are under extraordinary pressure right now. They are expected to make decisions quickly, with incomplete and rapidly evolving information. And unfortunately, being in crisis mode can cause even the most intentional and well-meaning leaders to fall into patterns of bias and exclusion. Research shows that when we’re stressed, we often default to heuristics and gut instincts, which are known to discourage diversity and increase bias. And yet, leaders must prioritize inclusion right now, more than ever. Here are some tactics to implement to make sure you are prioritizing inclusive behaviors in your workplace during this crisis:
Business help and support concept. Leadership use flashlight help team across over the cliff, modern flat Vector illustration

How Managers Can Support Remote Employees

In the global transition from corporate hallways to home offices due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have left something behind: meaningful access to managers. Gone are the instant answers to unblock progress, the access to the information streams that managers are privy to before the rest of the organization, the informal feedback and coaching shared while walking after a meeting, and the predictable processes and structures for communicating about work and ensuring mutual accountability.
Chess pieces on a chessboard. Conceptual composition on the theme of the epidemic. Close-up. Selective focus.

How to Talk to Your Team When the Future Is Uncertain

As the coronavirus pandemic escalates and disruptions to businesses continue, managers are grappling with the unknown. You don’t know when your employees will be able to return to the office or how different things will be when they do. Regardless, you need to be in constant communication with your team. But what information — and how much of it — should you share with your reports about the health of your organization? How can you be candid about the possibility of pay cuts and layoffs without demoralizing your team? And how can you offer assurance without giving people false hope?
No people in office. An empty working place with a laptop on the desk, video call with a many people together on it

8 Ways to Manage Your Team While Social Distancing

It’s challenging enough to manage yourself in quarantine without face-to-face human interaction and the structure of a typical workday. Now add to that the task of managing an entire team under those conditions, especially when you’ve never done it before. It’s daunting. To help managers who are new to this — or even experienced managers who need additional guidance in these trying times — here are some recommendations for supporting continued learning and the emotional well-being of employees.
Computer screen showing a video-conference between remote workers, having multiple technical and organisational problems

A Guide to Managing Your (Newly) Remote Workers

Although it is always preferable to establish clear remote-work policies and training in advance, this level of preparation may not be feasible in times of crisis or other rapidly changing circumstances. Fortunately, there are steps that managers can take to improve the engagement and productivity of remote employees, even when there is little time to prepare.
recession business, lockdown company, layoff notice, office worker, business, layoff, recession, spread, stress, worker, allowance, announcement, background, businessman, coronavirus, covid, crisis, depressed, distancing, economic, economy, employer, employment, epidemic

The Coronavirus Crisis Doesn’t Have to Lead to Layoffs

To be sure, a cost-cutting reflex is understandable. Leaders are obligated to make responsible decisions to keep their companies afloat. But those who manage the economic effects of this crisis in a clear and compassionate way will create more value for their companies and will come out of this pandemic stronger than ever. So before announcing deep layoffs, we recommend that you consider these measures first.

5 Tips for Safely Reopening Your Office

As businesses begin to reopen, great attention is being given to the measures required to keep employees and customers safe. Many of those measures are simple behaviors, such as washing our hands and wearing masks. But those measures won’t succeed unless they become norms. And for that to happen, people must not be afraid of calling out their violation. If noncompliance is rarely addressed, healthy behavior becomes a joke.
Woman wearing face mask buying in supermarket/drugstore with sold-out supplies.Empty shelves in the supermarket store due to novel coronavirus covid-19 2019-nCoV outbreak panic.Sustainable shopping

Prepare Your Supply Chain for the Coronavirus

Developing a cogent supply chain response to the coronavirus outbreak is extremely challenging, given the scale of the crisis and the rate at which it is evolving. The best response, of course, is to be ready before such a crisis hits, since options become more limited when a disruption is in full swing. However, there are measures that can be taken now even if you’re not fully prepared. And although its long-term consequences have yet to fully play out, the coronavirus outbreak is already providing lessons about how you can better prepare your company to deal with future large-scale crises.