Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Do you know the messages you're sending?

I recently met a manager, “Ingrid,” who had alienated her entire team. Ingrid was a kind person but she had facial expressions that upset and agitated others. When she was thinking her face became a blank stare. This stare seemed like an angry glare to her staff. Soon, every attempt at communication was colored by mistrust and assumptions. Her staff saw hostile motives in Ingrid’s every action. Meanwhile, Ingrid felt her team’s resistance and soon her facial expressions grew even sterner.

Are you aware of the messages your sending to others? Do you find that other people often misinterpret your words or moods?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Taking the Temperature of a Work Culture--Spent the day at Monsanto in Waterman, IL

Spent the day interviewing staff at Monsanto to prepare for our training event next week. What a great way to hone in on the true needs of the group! I'm also using Survey Monkey for surveying needs but today was extra special. I feel connected to these great folks who bared their souls to me today....

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Job Crafting Brings Higher Motivation to Work

Have you heard about job crafting? I'm now offering workshops in this terrific paradigm-shifter. While many of us already find ways to tweak our jobs to make them more satisfying, Job Crafting is a technique that helps us change small aspects of our current jobs. These changes can bring us much more satisfaction at work. This excerpt, from a Time Magazine article on the subject, also highlights the importance of our emotions in this process.

Barbara Fredrickson, author of Positivity and a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says it's crucial for people to pay attention to their workday emotions. "Doing so," she says, "will help you discover which aspects of your work are most life-giving — and most life-draining."

Many of us get stuck in ruts. Berg, a Ph.D. student at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania who helped develop the job-crafting methodology, says we all benefit from periodically rethinking what we do. "Even in the most constraining jobs, people have a certain amount of wiggle room," he says. "Small changes can have a real impact on life at work."

Here's the full article.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Motivation through Increasing Autonomy at Work

Yesterday's Positive Psychology News Daily had a great article on how to foster an engaging workplace. Here's an excerpt.

Autonomy-supported leaders create the environment that fosters choice, giving people opportunities for success and for developing feelings of competence. According to science, self-motivation thrives in the medium of choice.

How do we build choice into jobs? Helping employees recraft their jobs around reaching specified goals by exercising their strengths, passions and skills is likely to result in more engagement and a better outcome for everyone. Employees are more energized when their actions emanate from choice rather than external control. The vitality that comes from caring about the work itself and relationships with colleagues can be, as they say, priceless.

Here's the entire article.

Monday, April 5, 2010

How to Become More Creative.

Here's an excerpt from a great article in today's Positive Psychology News Daily.

Do you ever wish you were more creative? New research has shown that adults can be primed to become more creative simply by being asked to think like children. There are many kinds of creativity, including flexible thinking, elaboration of existing ideas, fluency of ideas, and originality.
For the purposes of the study conducted at North Dakota State University, college students were asked to imagine and write about what they would do if school was canceled for the day. In the experimental condition, they were primed in advance of writing to imagine that they were seven years old. Merely being primed to think like a child resulted in the production of more original responses on a subsequent measure of creativity.

What Happens to Creativity as We Grow?
There are numerous benefits to being more creative. However in school, creativity is usually valued less than conventional thinking, whether you are a student or a teacher. It may be that formal education discourages divergent thinking, and that school may also coincide with a natural brain development shift in students from more impulsive and less self-conscious thought to less spontaneous and more rule-bound thought.
Since both ways of thinking are important (imagine if we were all child-like all the time), it is intriguing to think about interventions that would enable you to be more creative at least some of the time. You might try thinking like a 7-year-old right before you have to do something that requires original thinking.

Here's the entire article.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Dear Amy, Nonverbals and Emotional Intelligence

I appreciated reading this story from today's Chicago Tribune.

Dear Amy: A mom who wrote to you was concerned about her teenage daughter being sarcastic and unpleasant, and losing friends.
My daughter also has issues relating to her peers in a way that isn't sarcastic. She is also very straightforward, even if it's not always nice.
We had been working with her on this, but she was resisting. She thought she didn't need to change.
Her counselor suggested that we videotape her and let her see it.
She was relaying a story from school with us, and we had her say it again on tape. When we showed it to her, she was shocked. She couldn't believe how her face looked and how she sounded. We are now having a much easier time working with her on reframing her statements.
Sometimes a picture (or video) is worth a thousand arguments.
— Relieved Mom

Dear Relieved: People who have trouble reading social cues often need training to learn this important skill. Viewing photos or video of other people's facial expressions can actually teach recognition.
Your daughter's therapist had a great idea — to show your daughter her own face.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sometimes it's hard to choose between two great things.....

Instead of choosing, I'm seeking to strike a balance between the worlds of fiction and nonfiction. I want both. In addition to my training work, one of my plays is now turning into a film. I'll be helping to direct. Fun!