This question comes up repeatedly, especially with new managers and supervisors. Few people enjoy delivering bad news, so some people try to avoid the conversation altogether, and some go too far in their attempt to soften the blow. Either of these approaches can make the situation worse for the candidate and for your organization.

You have a candidate who’s trying to find a job. This is a very important life goal for this person. The sooner they know you’re not going to make a job offer, the sooner they can focus on other opportunities. You’re not helping them by procrastinating.

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As parents of three children, my husband and I are not exaggerating when we say we’ve been the parents in about 100 parent-teacher conferences. We’ve had lots of practice, and about halfway in, we figured out that including our kids as active participants in parent-teacher conferences would maximize the utility of that precious one-on-one time with teachers. Here’s why…and it has everything to do with preparing them to be highly effective adult employees and leaders.

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Once again I had the privilege to attend the Great Places To Work conference. In this post I share some of the most meaningful points from various presentations.

Please note that I did not have the opportunity to attend every presentation. These are not exact quotations, so this is my interpretation of what was said.

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The recent Volkswagen scandal presents us with yet another example of intentional, enduring dishonest behavior by an organization. But it’s only the latest example. And it’s not just for-profit companies. This occurs in government entities, religious organizations, the Olympics, news organizations, sports teams and academic institutions, just to name a few. It’s everywhere. And it’s not going to stop. Root cause analysis won’t provide a solution. Increased regulation won’t provide a solution. More severe penalties won’t provide a sufficient deterrent.

However, we should continue to do those things. We can’t just throw our hands up and do nothing. But we must acknowledge reality. Despite our efforts, dishonest behavior continues with a depressing frequency. So what can we do? And more to the point, what can you, as a leader, do?

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These days it’s becoming more and more difficult to be a good listener. We (I include myself) always have our phones out, and we’re always checking briefly for incoming texts, tweets, emails, etc. Recent research suggests that just having your phone visible affects the conversation, and that people experience anxiety when they’re separated from their phones or can’t answer an incoming message. To read the research click here.

Many readers will rationalize this behavior, stating that briefly checking their phones does not detract from listening. But it does, and it impacts your relationship.

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