We help leaders become better leaders.
Enterprise effectiveness is mainly a function of leadership excellence. Work life works best when leaders understand how to lead workers. Seems obvious - no? At any rate, this is our guiding premise at Workplace Psychology: that it's fundamentally the psychology of leadership that makes organizations tick right (or renders them dysfunctional). Accordingly, we offer a range of leadership education services to help organizations address some of the thorniest issues of leadership psychology - e.g., workplace culture change and business conflict handling - and to grow their capacity for leadership more generally, via leadership learning programs. Joel Mausner PhD (our Founding Principal) has over 20 years experience consulting (and leading consulting teams) on a wide range of leadership interventions and training programs.
Leading people takes social intelligence,
and knowing what makes "people tick".
Leader Learning Programs
Workplace Psychology specializes in helping leaders become true people leaders. The competency skill set of an effective leader is myriad: for instance, strategic thinking skills, general business skills, industry-specific technical skills, process management skills, etc. We don't train to all those skills, most of which may be broadly described as "management" rather than "leadership". As we understand the distinction, management focuses on directing others via "organizing purpose", which requires general intelligence. In contrast, leadership focuses on directing others via "motivating people", which requires social intelligence. Strong people leaders are the kind of leaders who bring out the best in others. They are skillful at evoking support and respect from the people they manage. They know how to elicit dedicated commitment and discretionary effort from the people who report to them, enabling them to develop their talents and utilize their full potential at work. And they are also effective matrix leaders, knowing how to exercise influence with peers and other stakeholders. True people leaders understand what it is that makes "people tick", and what it takes to make "purpose click", and accordingly, they know how to motivate others, empower others, and inspire others to engage to their fullest and contribute their best.
In our training programs, the learning we aim to instill is tightly focused on the social intelligence of leaders - i.e., the skills that make them effective as leaders of people (not just managers of purpose). Our introductory training workshop is called "The Social Skills of People Leaders". Here is a sample of the skills we seek to enhance:
- How to set direction and clear expectations with others
- How to delegate and entrust accountabilities to others
- How to lead conversations and elicit buy-in from others
- How to enable and steward others to support their work
- How to mold aspirations and challenge others to achieve
- How to validate others in the process of appraising them
- How to model virtues and inspire others to emulate you
- How to mentor others and cultivate their leadership skill
Workplace Psychology offers both one-off workshops and intensive training programs that focus on building skills such as these - i.e., the social intelligence of people leaders. Our intensive programs offer guided opportunities to practice and learn these skills in the context of real-time work as it unfolds, via action learning and peer discussion forums. If you want to develop your managers to evolve toward strong people leadership, Workplace Psychology can help you to get there.
Culture change takes people leadership,
and knowing what makes "purpose click".
Workplace Culture Change
Most organizational change initiatives focus on improving workplace systems; and if that's what your enterprise needs, there are many management consultants who can help. But what about workplace culture? - where can you get help with that? Just as effective "purpose managers" implement productive workplace systems, effective "people leaders" cultivate productive workplace cultures. A productive work culture is a group mindset that is well aligned with enterprise mission and strategy, and which encourages employees to engage with those aims to the best of their talent and effort. Changing work systems can be difficult enough (especially in the absence of a productive work culture), but improving work culture can be even more daunting. Research suggests that most change management initiatives are unsuccessful or marginally successful at best. Part of the reason is that organizations mainly focus on changing work systems and devote less attention to improving work culture. Workplace Psychology specializes in advising leaders on how to change, improve, revitalize or transform the work culture of their enterprise.
There are two basic reasons that a workplace culture needs to change: it needs to get focused or it needs to get healthy - or both. A work culture needs to get focused when it is misaligned with organizational purpose: to best serve your mission and optimize strategic objectives, the attitude or mindset of your workforce needs to shift - e.g. to become more collaborative, more innovative, more service-focused, more results-oriented, more brand-focused, more professional, etc. And work culture needs to get healthy when employees are disengaging from their work (i.e., just going through the motions without meaningful commitment to purpose), and the group's morale is probably poor to mediocre at best. In both situations, the work culture is failing to generate the kind of discretionary effort and dedicated commitment that healthy and focused work cultures consistently elicit from the bulk of their people. Workplace Psychology can help leaders to facilitate both sorts of culture change across their organizations - i.e., to become simultaneously healthier and more appropriately focused - thereby enhancing productivity and bottom-line results.
If your mandate or imperative as a leader requires change management, and if a large part of what needs to change is your work culture (i.e., employee attitudes about their work), Workplace Psychology has the expertise to help you succeed. We understand how to make "purpose click".
Conflict can be constructive,
but only when it's managed constructively.
Business Conflict Handling
Workplace Psychology specializes in helping leaders learn the craft of conflict handling. We offer one-off training workshops as well as more intensive learning programs to build conflict management skills. In addition, we offer executive conflict mediation services, which are customized to address specific situations.
conflict Management Training
Conflict handling can be the toughest challenge leaders confront (at least on the people-side of management). Success at conflict management requires mastery of a complex set of skills: e.g., knowing when and how to engage in constructive conflict, knowing when and how to contain destructive conflict, retaining poise and focus in the midst of intense emotions evoked by the conflict, finding the confidence and agility to hold difficult conversations as needed, etc. Leaders need the skills to manage conflicts across a wide range of situations: e.g., with organizational peers, reports or bosses; within teams that they lead or belong to as members; across organizational silos with ambiguous lines of accountability; with external stakeholders on the boundaries of the enterprise; etc. Moreover, leaders are responsible for modeling behaviors that can shape a successful culture of conflict handling within their teams and across the organization. Truly mastering the craft of conflict handling requires wisdom and emotional maturity, generally acquired via a long developmental process. Still, instilling a set of trainable skills can foster this process. We offer intensive training programs that focus your leaders on the skills essential to effective conflict management, and that guide your enterprise to enshrine a norm of constructive conflict handling as an integral part of your work culture.
Conflict Mediation Services
Workplace Psychology also offers executive conflict mediation services. This is essentially communications coaching which aims to unfreeze and ameliorate toxic conflicts that have become entrenched among key leaders in an organization. Sometimes conflict among senior leaders becomes so intense it threatens to disrupt stability or undermine morale in the broader enterprise. The CEO may feel at a loss about how to contain the toxicity (and can be tempted to fire one or both parties). Yet both parties to the conflict may bring skills of great value that can't be readily replaced. This is the sort of situation where executive conflict mediation may be especially useful. Call us to discuss your issue, and we will help you assess whether mediation is a viable option.