RBL Insights: Blog

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Michael Phillips /

Managing Up: It’s More About You Than About Your Boss

“How can I manage my boss?” I constantly get this question from people I coach. Sometimes there is an actual problem with their boss, but, just as often, there is simply a behavioral challenge for the subordinate. The real questions are: where does an individual actually have control and what can be done to improve the situation? Over the years, I have developed a list of five critical ways individuals can “manage up” by simply managing themselves.

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Erin Burns /

The Importance of Executives with a Positive Outlook

Recently, I shared seven personality traits that differentiate executive leaders from leaders at other levels in the organization. These seven traits are: objectivity, having a positive outlook, being engaged, innovative, a team builder, a quick learner, and trusting. These personality characteristics are uniquely important in executive leaders and can also be used to help identify and develop high-potential future executive leaders. The focus of this post is to expand a little on the second of these traits, having a positive outlook.

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Mark Nyman /

Applying Best Practices: Proceed With Caution

Occasionally while driving one will see a road sign that reads, “Proceed With Caution.” This warning sign alerts us to be particularly aware of our surroundings and reinforces the need to pay attention to details. It is different from a stop or detour sign. We are supposed to continue moving forward, but to do so with thoughtfulness and focus. 

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Darryl Wee /

3 Steps to Becoming a Credible Activist, an Asian Perspective

In the latest round of our HR competency research, we asked which of the nine domains would help HR professionals get a seat at the table? It was no surprise that the domain that stood out most in our data was ‘Credible Activist’. These are HR professionals who succeed in achieving the level trust and respect required to be viewed as influential and valuable partners of an organization.

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Justin Allen /

Talent Accelerator (part 3)

Recently, I shared the results from a study on Talent in Asia, performed by RBL and the Singapore Ministry of Manpower. We evaluated how talent impacts 570 of the best performing businesses in China, India, and Singapore, in both the public and private sectors. This is the final part of a series, Summary of the 10 Secrets to Success from the Best Performing Organizations in Asia. Because many countries in Asia are shifting from exporting low-cost manufactured goods to exporting high-value financial and technical services, it has become difficult for many organizations to drive, cultivate, and foster talent, during this period of tremendous economic growth and dramatic transition.

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Michael Phillips /

Light the Fire Within, Not the Fire Below: Motivating and Engaging Employees

With the advent of the Pyeongchang Olympics, I am reminded of the tagline from the 2002 Winter Olympics we hosted in Utah: “Light the Fire Within.” I frequently refer to this phrase when working with an organization to improve employee motivation and engagement. However, to make this tagline more applicable to the workplace, I have added a few additional words: “Light the Fire Within, Not the Fire Below.”  When thinking about different perspectives on motivation, the hard-driving boss comes to mind immediately. I picture him/her insisting on lighting a fire under folks to get them going—usually in the form of threats and bullying. Not Surprisingly, experience tells us that this method of “motivation” rarely yields truly positive and sustainable results.