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The Know Your Team Blog

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

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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… 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, as… 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 during a… 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 ...

The four questions to ask every single employee for feedback

Based our research, these are the essential employee engagement questions for managers that we’ve found to be most effective. Getting good feedback starts with asking a good question. Ask a good question and you’ll discover that there’s a part of the business you’re neglecting, or an issue you weren’t aware of. A specific, thoughtful question… Read the full article ...

Don’t ask for employee feedback — invite it.

How to get employee feedback in the workplace all starts with how you ask for it. When someone invites you to an event or a party, you typically don’t automatically decide to go. You probably weigh a couple factors. Was it the host who invited you, or a friend of a friend? Did they put a… Read the full article ...

Don’t be the last to know: How to overcome your leadership blindspots

As a CEO, business executive or manager, you can be caught in a bubble. Here’s how to break through and get the employee feedback you need.   “Have you ever been the last to know something in your company?” As the CEO of Know Your Team, an employee communication software tool, I’ve asked this question to… Read the full article ...

How we define our company mission, vision, and values

What I wrote back in 2013 to remind myself of what matters as we develop Know Your Team’s own organizational culture. Yesterday was one of those days when I doubted myself a little bit more than usual. It’s happened before, and it’ll happen many more times again, I’m sure. When I started to feel that… Read the full article ...

What to remember when you’re the boss

Don’t inadvertently become a bad boss. When you’re the boss, there’s one important thing you need to remember: you’re the boss. This means that, whether you like it or not, there’s an inherent power dynamic in every interaction you have with your employees. You’re the person your employee is least willing to go to about a… Read the full article ...

Fresh eyes: The most important thing a new hire brings

When welcoming a new coworker, keep this in mind. On the first day of one of the first jobs I ever had coming out of college, a mentor of mine pulled me aside, and said to me “Claire, take a look around the company. Take in everything you see and hear, what you think could be… Read the full article ...

Hire someone new? Don’t forget to do these four things when onboarding a new employee

The importance of onboarding a new employee well cannot be overstated. Here’s how to do it well. Welcome new employees! Do you remember the last time you started a new job? I do. I was intimidated. Everyone in the company already knew each other and “how things work around here” except me. I was reminded of this… Read the full article ...

How to not take negative feedback personally at work

Three things to remember when you handle criticism in the workplace. I often look like this when I take feedback personally. I recently finished reading a book called, The Four Agreements. The title is a bit hokey. But the content is spot-on. The book talks about the importance of creating personal freedom. One of these… Read the full article ...

Chin up, CEOs: The business problems you’re facing, we’re all facing

The challenges of running a business are felt by all of us as business owners. Trust me. What it feels like to run a business, most of the time… Last month, I met with several CEOs. One of them was on the brink of shutting down his business. His company was having serious cash flow problems. A… Read the full article ...

Futility: one of the mistakes that make people quit

Why do people quit their jobs? Not feeling heard might be the reason. Futility has been found to be 1.8 times more common than fear as a reason for employees not speaking up to their managers. According to a 2009 Cornell National Social Survey, more employees reported withholding their ideas due to a sense of futility… Read the full article ...