The Know Your Team Blog

Thoughts on how to become a better leader, and avoid being a bad boss.

Home

How to repair the trust of your team as a leader

One in three employees don’t trust their employer. As a manager, here’s what you can do about this significant leadership weakness I recently came across a 2016 study conducted by Edelman where they’d surveyed 33,000 people in 28 countries. From it, they discovered: One in three people don’t trust their employer. One in three people… Read the full article ...

The power of assuming positive intent

My greatest leadership weakness, and how I’m learning to overcome it My parents were in town last week. During one conversation we had, my mom shared an opinion that I strongly disagreed with. And as I responded to her, she said this to me: “You’re getting defensive.” Throughout my life, I’ve heard this quite often. Getting… Read the full article ...

Anonymous employee feedback breeds a culture of distrust

The pitfalls of anonymous employee feedback aren’t often talked about. Here’s how it can backfire. As the CEO of Know Your Team, I often get asked about my opinion on asking employees for anonymous feedback. Is it a useful approach? Would I recommend it? My answer is the same each time: I hate anonymous feedback.… Read the full article ...

The Bad Boss vs The Good Boss

How to avoid becoming a bad boss — “The Boss You Don’t Want to Be.” “People leave bosses, not companies.” We’ve all heard this truism in corporate leadership discussions. But how many of us have lived that statement? How many of us have left a bad boss? How many of us know what it’s like to work for… Read the full article ...

8 things leaders of remote companies do differently

If you’re thinking of going remote, here’s what successful leaders of remote companies do Earlier this month, I spoke with a CEO who’s looking to transition her company to become remote in the upcoming year. I could tell she was hesitant — perhaps even nervous about it. She’d never run a remote company before. She asked me:… Read the full article ...

The 10 qualities of a good leader

What I’ve observed from effective leaders and tried to keep in mind as a CEO these past few years “This is somewhat terrifying.” I remember thinking this when I became the CEO of Know Your Team back in January 2014. Sure, I’d started two companies beforehand — but one was with close friends, and the other was by… Read the full article ...

Don’t let worry become a leadership weakness

Worry is a natural byproduct and characteristic of a leader. Here are five ways to cope with worrying as a leader. The other week, I interviewed Jason Fried, CEO and co-founder of Basecamp. I asked him what he wish he would’ve learned earlier as a leader. His response? Worry less. I smiled when he said this.… Read the full article ...

Don’t want to be a bad manager? Stop feeding Shit Sandwiches

One of the most popular methods of delivering difficult employee feedback is, well, shit. Here’s why and what you should do instead I recently ran into a friend who mentioned how she uses the Shit Sandwich to deliver feedback. If you’re not familiar with it, the Shit Sandwich is a technique for delivering feedback popularized by… Read the full article ...

Our 3 biggest blindspots and leadership weaknesses

Our research on the most common blindspots and signs of employee disengagement. “What’s the hardest part about being a leader?” A few years ago, the Washington Post interviewed Peter Thiel, cofounder and former CEO of PayPal, and asked him this question to distill his greatest leadership weakness. This was his response: “As CEO, you’re somehow… Read the full article ...

Do not ask this question if you want high employee morale

Trust me, it surprised me too. But this is not one of the questions to ask employees about morale. “How can I help you?” You’d think this would be a great question to ask your employees. Surely, I’ve asked this question, as a CEO myself, to my own team countless of times. Turns out, I’m wrong. The… Read the full article ...

How to have an honest one-on-one meeting with an employee

Here are six ways to get employees talking about what they really feel (and not what they think you want to hear) “I can handle the truth. I’m pretty tough, Claire.” My CEO at the time told me this during our one-on-one about five or so years ago. The year was ending, and he wanted to know what the… Read the full article ...

Unlock honest feedback from your employees with this one word

Consider using this one word in your next one-on-one meeting A few years ago, a CEO told me how she was struggling to get honest feedback from her board. No one seemed willing to be critical or give her pointers on things she could improve. After every board meeting, she would turn to them and… Read the full article ...

An attempt at authentic leadership: Why I illustrate all our blog posts, as a CEO

One small way we try to show we care as a company and value genuine leadership. Lately, I’ve been getting asked more frequently: “Claire, do you illustrate your own blog posts?” The answer is, “Yes.” To date, I’ve written hundreds pieces on our blog. With the exception of a few (where I’ve used a photograph… Read the full article ...

5 questions that reveal if a company has a healthy workplace culture

Everyone says, “It’s great working here.” But is it really? Here are the questions to ask to assess if a company has a positive work culture. “How do you know if a company’s culture is good?” Last week, a friend who’s looking for a new job asked me this. She’d been doing a few interviews, and… Read the full article ...

Go first: The first step of getting feedback at work starts with you

You can’t expect people to give you honest feedback if you’re not open with them first. You’re at a swimming pool. The water looks nice. It’s not quite a warm enough day But it’s almost summer so why not jump in? You want others to join you in the pool. (It’s more fun that way!)… Read the full article ...

Quit measuring employee engagement

It’s time to break our addiction to metrics — starting with employee engagement metrics. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” I think this statement is bullshit. While I have utmost respect for Peter Drucker, whom I believe the quote is attributed to, I take issue with this statement’s over-the-top, rampant usage in the business world.… Read the full article ...

11 ways to get feedback from your most introverted employee

When folks are quiet at work, that doesn’t mean they have don’t have effective employee feedback to share. I’m an introvert. Most people don’t believe me when I tell them this (I do a lot of public speaking for an introvert 😳), but I am an introvert through-and-through. When I need to recharge, I seek alone… Read the full article ...

“Fine”: A telling sign of a disengaged employee

How this one tiny word reveals a lot when it comes to employee dissatisfaction. Listen closely for the word “fine.” It’s never the whole story. Growing up, my family and I moved around quite a bit. From Georgia to Washington to Ohio to Minnesota People assumed we were a military family because of how often we… Read the full article ...

The 9 questions that uncover the most surprising feedback from employees

I’m sharing three years-worth of findings, based on data from 15,000+ employees in 25 countries through Know Your Team, on the best questions to ask employees for feedback. When’s the last time you had a one-on-one meeting or performance review with an employee and you learned something completely new? Don’t think too hard 🙂 If… Read the full article ...

Don’t “empower” anybody: The biggest leadership mistake you can make

I hate the word, “empowerment”. It’s often inhibits us from becoming a good leader. I hate the word “empowerment.” I never think I should “empower” anyone — especially our team, here at Know Your Team. It’s often a leadership mistake, in my mind. Why? The definition of the word “empower” is: to give power to (someone); to… Read the full article ...

What is company vision? A picture of a better place

The importance of company vision (and how to figure out yours) Earlier this year, I was asked to advise an entrepreneurship class over at the Northwestern Law School here in Chicago. Students pitched business ideas to a panel of mentors, including myself. We were then asked to give feedback on these ideas. The first team of… Read the full article ...

Watch: 3 Ways to Get Employee Feedback

  I share 3 tips in 5 minutes on an episode of #HRAgainstLame on how to get honest employee feedback. One of my favorite people in Chicago is the lovely Elena Valentine, CEO of Skill Scout. A few months ago, I got to spend some time with her sharing three ways to get employee feedback,… Read the full article ...

Why you should argue with your employees and embrace internal team conflict

Yes, it can feel draining and counterproductive, but here’s why arguing and dealing with team conflict can be good things “Did I hire the wrong person?” I remember thinking that right after I’d gotten into a heated argument with one of our team members here at Know Your Team. This was back in 2014. We’d recently… Read the full article ...

How to handle negative feedback we don’t want to hear

Keep this one thing in mind when you’re given negative feedback in the workplace. What happens when someone tells you something you don’t want to hear? Hearing something negative about yourself is a hard thing to swallow. Especially when you disagree with it. I’ll never forget when this happened to me most vividly about four… Read the full article ...

Fun! We’re featured in Glossier’s cover story in Domino Magazine 🎊

We’re in here! ❤️ I’m a big fan of Glossier. This beauty company’s mission is to democratize beauty, per the words of their founder + CEO Emily Weiss. I’ve always loved that ethos not to mention their products 🙂 I wear their Haloscope highligher every day, in fact. So I was thrilled to learn that their CTO… Read the full article ...

Kill the culture of “nice”: This is how you create a positive work environment

  “Nice” can be a dangerous thing when it comes to developing company culture. Does your company suffer from a culture of “nice”? A culture of “nice” exists when people do not openly disagree with one another. Employees politely bite their tongues when they have a dissenting viewpoint. No one dares brings up a contentious topic… Read the full article ...

How to give feedback to your boss

Giving upward feedback is one of the toughest things to do as an employee. Here are some guidelines for giving feedback to your manager or CEO. When I was an employee, I felt stuck. I had some ideas about how I thought the company could be better but I had no clue how to give feedback… Read the full article ...

Watch our talks on leadership

Lately, I’ve been out on the road speaking quite a bit. From Stockholm to Austin to Denver to Boston, I’ve been honored to share our techniques around how you can avoid being the last to know in your company. And, it’s been fun to pull back the curtain on how we run Know Your Company… Read the full article ...

“What kind of company are you?”: Our biggest business mistake and why I’m glad we made it

If they say you learn from your biggest leadership mistakes, this one takes the cake. We made a huge mistake. We’d built a new feature in Know Your Team a while back. During that process, we’d accidentally written a bit of code that caused private responses to be revealed to new employees in a company. This… Read the full article ...

The evils of anonymous employee feedback

Why anonymous employee feedback is counterproductive and should be avoided in the workplace. I recently realized that I’m in the minority of this opinion, so I wanted to write about it. Why don’t I believe in anonymous feedback? It’s because the whole point of feedback is to do something about it. If you don’t know… Read the full article ...