Author Archive | Dan Erwin

Do Employees Want Their Boss to Tell Them How to Vote?

With all that’s going on about the 2016 presidential candidates, I thought it was time to visit an important issue about company support of candidates. Back in 2012, the HBR (Harvard Business Review) blog had a lead posting by Gregory Casey, arguing that employees want their bosses to talk politics—ostensibly so they can make “better decisions.” So […]

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Why Should You Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer?

It wasn’t the Godfather’s Michael Corleone who first uttered this well-known dictum. Actually, it came from Machiavelli in “The Prince,” the definitive primer for how to be a dictator. You’d think that with my easy-going optimism, I’d never write a blog on this subject.  But, au contraire! As a manager or leader it is inevitable […]

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How to Use Networking As a Leadership Tool

Acting like a leader is not just about what you do. It’s also about the company you keep. So what kind of company are you keeping? In her brilliant new book, Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader, Herminia Ibarra describes the best ways to lead with far greater impact. She emphasizes the necessity […]

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Why How We Fight Matters Most

Analysis of business conversations inevitably reveals that they are chock full of misunderstanding, differences of opinion and inherent disagreement. Yet, it has been more than a dozen years since anything significant on managing conflict has been created. But in a recent and highly awarded study UVA’s Kristin Behfar and her colleagues have provided a new, […]

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The Four Competencies of Leadership

It’s wonderful—perhaps because it’s so rare—to reread something that you started using thirty years ago and discover that it’s still highly relevant. Desktops were just beginning to show up and technology organizations were starting to use organizational networks. Organizations began to flatten and the need for leading started to surface. The talk was all about […]

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Gen-Y, Gen-Why?, and Gen-WTF?!

As a result of interacting with a number of Gen-yers over the past few years, I’ve developed a sense of when their input can be trusted and when it can’t. MIT’s Josh Hartshorne and Harvard’s Laura Germine recently validated my hunches, providing a great deal of clarity. Two areas are very significant, one of little surprise […]

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The American Apocalypse: A Premature Obituary

America’s rule of the globe is coming to an end. Destroyed, we’re told, by China. Fear is a terrific motivator—at least in the short term. So plenty of economists and business people go about earning their stripes with apocalyptic warnings about our soon demise. But, actually, that notion and its underpinnings are all nonsense. Fear […]

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Five Keys to Interpersonal Sensitivity

In a fascinating study, Rod Hart and Don Burks studied the relationship between “expressive” communication and “instrumental” or “rhetorical communication.” Expressive communication is very attractive in business because it involves frankness, honesty, openheartedness and non-manipulative intentions. As attractive as it is, it rarely provides people with effective means for creating and managing relationships—very important tools […]

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Sometimes the Best Is Actually the Least Worst

Sometimes there are no good options. An executive looks around and sees three managers who are no more than ordinary. But he has a high profile project. And so he selects the least worst employee for the project. It happens in business, in non-profits, in communities, in churches and in government far more than most want to […]

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Blistering Job Growth. . .

..but not a fair day’s wage. America’s labor market really boomed in 2014. In fact there were 3 million more people in work than a year earlier. According to a recent study reported in The Economist, the ratio of job seekers to actual job openings fell “from a peak of seven to one in 2009 […]

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