Articles for Managers and Professionals

  • Harvard Business Review |
    How to Call Out Racial Injustice at Work

    Raising issues about racial injustice at work takes courage and brings risk for anyone — but especially for Black employees. Jim and co-author Laura Morgan Roberts show that you can speak up more effectively, and offer five strategies to mitigate those risks.

  • UVA Darden Ideas to Action |
    The High Stakes of Hiring and Promoting: What You Should Be Considering

    If an organization wants to attract new business and promote revenue growth, whom should it promote? These decisions are pivotal to the success of a company but are prone to implicit bias as illustrated in the real example Jim shares.

  • UVA Darden Ideas to Action |
    A Love for Leadership, a 'Meh' for Management: Fair?

    The word "leader" implies inspiring and motivating types of behavior, whereas "manager" evokes attending to budgets, hiring, and supervising. In this brief description of a multi-study research stream, Jim and fellow researchers Kevin Kniffin and Hannes Leroy explain how our love of leadership can come at the cost of neglecting important management behaviors and skilled managers, and what might be done to enhance consciousness about the decision-making biases these words can lead to.

  • UVA Darden Ideas to Action |
    What Leaders Need Now More Than Ever: A 'Team of Rivals'

    Leaders know that they’re supposed to say they value input from anyone, anywhere in the organization. Often, though, their behavior suggests differently. Jim asks a provocative question for leaders: in the last week has someone challenged you? If not, he suggests, perhaps you've built a team of team of fearful sycophants not a constructive "team of rivals."

  • UVA Darden Ideas to Action |
    Q&A: How to Practice ‘Everyday Courage’ in the Workplace

    In this article, Jim shares a few of the lessons he has learned from talking to hundreds of managers and employees and through collecting data from thousands of people about their workplaces. All of those stories have taught him a lot about how to speak up and stand out in the workplace — and how not to.

  • UVA Darden Ideas to Action |
    Talking Ourselves Into It: How We Rationalize Bad Choices

    People often break their own moral code without even realizing it, and then engage in all sorts of post hoc rationalizations for their behavior. In this article Jim and fellow Darden Professor Sean Martin outline the eight most common “moral disengagement” tactics used to rationalize bad behavior, and provide guidance on how to try to recognize and overcome these all-too-human tendencies.

  • Harvard Business Review |
    Cultivating Everyday Courage

    In this article, Jim lays out a process for becoming competently courageous by addressing our thoughts and behaviors before the big moment, during, and after it. One good way to learn and master competently courageous behaviors is to engage in smaller, everyday acts before proceeding to progressively more difficult ones.

  • UVA Darden Ideas to Action |
    Courage in the Workplace: Why Many Important Behaviors Happen Far Too Infrequently

    Wondering if your workplace is courageous? In this article, Jim Detert and his colleague Evan Bruno, discuss the topline trends and takeaways from the Workplace Courage Acts Index, an open access tool that you can use to take the temperature of your organization.

  • UVA Darden Ideas to Action |
    Workplace Courage: When Vulnerability Signals Strength

    Jim explains an interesting finding from his years of research on workplace courage: that people called leaders courageous for voluntarily moving toward negative feedback or problems, asking for and accepting help, for admitting they don’t know it all, for apologizing publicly, and for showing emotions like sadness or fear. Jim describes this as the value of being "voluntarily vulnerable."

  • Harvard Business Review |
    Don't Let Your Brain's Defense Mechanisms Thwart Effective Feedback

    Feeling afraid and defensive when giving or receiving feedback is natural. In this article, Jim and co-author Ethan R. Burris discuss how to turn instinctive thoughts into productive actions in difficult feedback situations.

  • Harvard Business Review |
    When It's Tough to Speak Up, Get Help from Your Coworkers

    When you're facing a tough moment at work, scrap conventional wisdom that says you've got to address the situation by yourself. Jim and co-author Ethan Burris show you that you don't have to go it alone, and might actually do better speaking up about problems or opportunities for improvement with the help of colleagues.

  • Harvard Business Review |
    Can Your Employees Really Speak Freely?

    Chances are good that your employees are withholding valuable intelligence from you for two key reasons: a fear of consequences and a sense of futility. In this article, Jim and his colleauge Ethan Burris look at how leaders' misguided attempts to promote candid expression often fail to address--and sometimes stir up--those feelings.

  • Harvard Business Review |
    Nonverbal Cues Get Employees to Open Up-or Shut Down

    Your employees are watching everything you do as a leader to see if it's really safe to speak up. In this article, Jim and co-author Ethan Burris discuss how to signal "I'm really listening" rather than inadvertently conveying "I'm the boss."

  • Harvard Business Review |
    Get the Boss to Buy In

    Managers in the middle ranks often struggle to get their voices heard, especially when trying to promote systemic change to senior leaders. Jim and co-author Sue Ashford share seven tactics associated with successful "issue selling" from their study of people in a range of organizations, roles, and industries.

  • Harvard Business Review |
    Your Boss Won't Say Yes If Emotions Are Running High

    It makes sense that you are emotionally charged when dealing with things that are truly important to you at work. But, as Jim and co-author Sue Ashford explain, you're unlikely to positively affect change on these issues if you can't identify and manage your own and your audience's emotions skillfully.

  • Harvard Business Review |
    Debunking Four Myths About Employee Silence

    Jim and co-authors Ethan Burris and Dave Harrison debunk myths about who speaks up and doesn't in organizations, and why silence is often pervasive.

  • Harvard Business Review |
    Why Employees Are Afraid to Speak

    Jim and co-author Amy Edmondson explain why employees are afraid to speak up. These fears don't just prevent blowing the whistle on major problems; they're also the reason people hesitate to offer more routine improvement-oriented or innovative ideas.

Choosing courage in key moments can protect others, help solve problems and avert disasters, lead to opportunities seized, and to various forms of innovation and growth.

It can inspire commitment, bolster trust, and lead others to act more courageously. Choosing courage helps you build the legacy you want and avoid regrets you don’t want.

Are you ready to learn more and get started?

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