Sitting at Work Is Old Fashioned — And Other Top Stories on LinkedIn This Week

February 10, 2012

There are a few things we used to expect from managers and no longer can, according to the most-shared stories by LinkedIn's 150 million-plus members. No. 1: Managers used to be able to motivate by giving raises. (Better to motivate through clear goals and consistency, says Inc.) No. 2: Managers used to be able to set the course and expect people to follow. (Don't even try it with the social media generation, says the Harvard Business Review.) No. 3: Managers used to provide people with ... chairs.

Top 5 most-shared articles by LinkedIn members (Feb 2, 2012 - Feb. 9, 2012) Follow @LinkedInToday

  1. 8 Things Your Employees Need Most (Inc.)
  2. No More Angling for the Best Seat; More Meetings Are Stand-Up Jobs (Wall Street Journal)
  3. Pinterest Drives More Traffic Than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn Combined (Mashable)
  4. The Days of "Manager Knows Best" Are Ending (Harvard Business Review)
  5. Mark Zuckerberg's 6 Ingredients For Success (TechCrunch)

Chairs? The WSJ looks at the trend, primarily in tech companies, of mandating short, prompt meetings in which everyone stands. The goal is to keep things fast and focused. Chairs are removed from meeting spaces, as are tables or other places for people to lean. The more uncomfortable, really, the better. At one company in Florida, the person talking has to do so while holding a 10 lb. medicine ball; go on too long and your arms remind you to shut up.

For newcomers unaware of the practice, "it's pretty mean," [founder Obie Fernandez] says, "but really the main thing you want is to avoid people pontificating."

So one thing managers can still do, apparently, is stuff that's "pretty mean." But what they can't do, says Cisco VP Sujai Hajela in the HBR, is assume they can make decisions by relying on a small group of advisors. Being social is now a requirement of the connected boss. Says Hajela: "they'll be expected to interact digitally with a much broader range of people both inside and outside the company." The most interesting part of Hajela's blog post is the details he pulls out of a recent research report conducted by Cisco on "Next-Generation Influence on Workplace Policies." Cisco's research found that 40% of those surveyed would trade a higher salary for things like the to ability to access social media while at work and the "choice on the mobile devices they could use on the job." Somehow Inc., in it's incredibly popular look at what levers managers can pull to motivate workers, missed that one: cell phone choice as a perk. But it did offer up some other good tips. The biggest takeaway:

Employees don't want to work for a paycheck; they want to work with and for people. A kind word, a short discussion about family, a brief check-in to see if they need anything... those individual moments are much more important than meetings or formal evaluations.

Try to have those brief check-ins while standing up and you've basically hit modern corporate nirvana.

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