What’s the Secret of the Best Places to Work? Compassion and Connection by Echo Montgomery

What does creating a happier workplace take? Raises all around? A retreat where everyone falls backward in a trust exercise? Beanbag chairs? Nope, nope, nope.


The answer is surprisingly simple. To improve learning, resilience and adaptation as well as overall happiness and attachment to the organization and team, people need time and space to experience positive moments with each other, says Jane Dutton, Ph.D., professor of business administration and psychology at the University of Michigan.

Relationships are composed of micro-moments of connection, and positive moments give a big boost to people emotionally, explains Dutton, who researches the impact of positivity within organizations. “Positive emotions compound quickly, and these short-term meaningful interactions stay in people’s minds. It may be as brief as looking at each other with mutual positive regard.”

Dutton visits the same Starbucks every morning, and a barista named Norma knows her well. “The moment I walk through the door, she acknowledges me with a look that makes me feel good,” Dutton says. “I may have felt hassled from the commute, but then that melts away all because of how Norma looks at me. It’s a relational vitamin that recharges me.” This same dynamic of uplifting interpersonal connection can have a great effect in the workplace.

Be willing to share micro-moments, Dutton advises. “People feel more vitality and more positive regard in the moment when they feel like they are at the same level. This idea of mutuality is particularly important in business, where there’s a lot of power and status subordination.”

Consider these high-quality connections as vessels for personal growth. Some work organizations cultivate really good soil that allows these seeds to grow, Dutton says, and they make sure that every point of human contact between suppliers, customers and team members is a positive one. “Not only do people perform better there, but they feel like they are growing into better people. There are multiple payoffs.”

She adds that people who are relationally skilled and routinely create positive moments that lead to high-quality connections are more resourceful, stronger psychologically and more likely to have a better trajectory for their own growth.

How do you create a culture that fosters high-quality connections?

• Hire people who care about connecting with others and are sensitive to building relationships.
• On-board employees wisely. Rather than inundating them with information, facilitate meaningful connections with people who will be important to helping them do their work.
• Make it safe and OK to ask for help and reward those who give it.

Says Dutton: “We are hard wired to connect. Having a high-quality connection mindset opens up a bunch of ways to think about how to build human capability by the way you interact.”

“We are happiest when helping other people,” says Corey Keyes, Ph.D., a founding fellow of Life University’s Center for Compassion, Integrity and Secular Ethics and a sociology professor at Emory University in Atlanta.

But compassion, integrity and ethics can conflict—especially in the workplace, where the bottom line and merit are important. SUCCESS asked Keyes, an expert in positive psychology, how to practice compassion that’s aligned with our own inner compasses:

Q: How do we decide who deserves our compassion?

A: Everyone deserves our compassion, and that even extends to our enemies. There’s a large body of scientific evidence that those who serve others live longer, happier and more purposeful lives.

Q: How important is compassion in the workplace?

– See more at: http://www.success.com/article/whats-the-secret-of-the-best-places-to-work-compassion-and-connection#sthash.ETrPoKTb.dpuf

6 WAYS TO SUCCEED AS A LEADER by Center for Creative Leadership

Sharpen These 6 Skills and Set Yourself Apart


Want to stand out as a leader? Excel at skills where there is a strong need and weak capacity.

CCL recently analyzed data from 2,339 managers in 24 organizations in 3 countries to understand the leadership gap—the skills that organizations need but their leaders don’t have. Six key gaps were found:

Inspiring commitment. Managers who recognize and reward employees’ achievements are able to inspire commitment from their subordinates. These managers publicly praise others for their performance, understand what motivates other people to perform at their best and provide tangible rewards for significant organizational achievements.

Leading employees. Leaders who have good skills in directing and motivating people know how to interact with staff in ways that motivate them. They delegate to employees effectively, broaden employee opportunities, act with fairness toward direct reports and hire talented people for their teams.

Strategic planning. This skill involves translating vision into realistic business strategies. Managers who are highly competent in this area typically articulate long-term objectives and strategies, develop plans that balance long-term goals with immediate needs, update plans to reflect changing circumstances and develop plans that contain contingencies for future changes.

Change management.

Read the rest here:  http://insights.ccl.org/articles/leading-effectively-articles/6-ways-to-succeed-as-a-leader/

Learn more…

Read a breakdown of leaders’ strengths compared with the capacity needed to be successful over the next 5 years in a new CCL white paper, The Leadership Gap: What You Need and Still Don’t Have When It Comes to Leadership Talent. 

Click here to read this:  http://insights.ccl.org/articles/white-papers/the-leadership-gap-what-you-need-and-still-dont-have-when-it-comes-to-leadership-talent/

What if I Succeeded? by Jim Johnson

Today is Monday.  What is your mind set on? Fear? Stress?  Worry?

Success?  What if you changed your mind set?  Instead of the worse possible scenario playing out, what if…

▪ What if your coaching session today with that challenging employee helped turn them around? 

▪ What if you uncover a resolution for that frustrating project?

▪ What if your efforts to build that relationship with a customer pays off today and more business than you imagined comes your way?

▪ What if you get a phone call that changes your life all due to how you’ve stretched and built your network?

Work hard and intentionally today. Success becomes less and less of a surprise.


The High Cost of Conformity, and How to Avoid It by Peter Bregman


I was biking with my friends Eric and Adam, both far more skilled and experienced mountain bikers than I, on terrain that was slightly beyond my own skill. I thought I could do it.

I was wrong.

I suffered a pretty dramatic crash, falling down a ravine, flipping over a few times, and hitting my (helmeted) head on a tree. Eventually, I ended up in the emergency room. But not before riding another hour.

Everything turned out fine, but continuing after my crash was a poor decision. Not only was I riding injured, but, because I was tight with fear, I fell many more times.

Why didn’t I stop? I wish I could say it was bravery but, the truth is, it was nothing of the kind. I kept riding, quite simply, because Eric and Adam kept riding.

There are a host of tangled reasons, of course: I didn’t want to disrupt their ride or feel like a wimp who couldn’t handle a few falls, or give up on something that I started. But the real reason? I continued because they did.

It turns out that I’m not alone. The research shows that, even as adults, we tend to conform to the behaviors of those around us. If your colleagues take sick days, then you’ll start taking them too. If your colleagues are messy, you’ll become more messy too.

Which is not such a big deal, really. Until it is.

By now you probably know that, for the past seven years, Volkswagen has been installing software in diesel cars to manipulate emissions tests and illegally sidestep pollution standards. They’ve been lying to millions of consumers.

When Michael Horn, head of Volkswagen Group of America, testified at a recent congressional hearing, he said that he believed only “a couple of software engineers” were responsible.

Seriously? Only a couple? As of 2014, Volkswagen employed 583,000 people. Surely more than two people knew about this deception. Why didn’t anybody say anything?

I’ve written before about how aggressive goal setting can lead to cheating, lying, and misdirected efforts. And certainly we’ve heard that Volkswagen’s culture was brutally focused on achieving their goals..

But seven years and 11 million cars later, you would think that someone would say something. But they didn’t. Because saying something, when nobody else is saying anything, is really, really hard.

Still, that’s what leadership calls us to do. Leadership is the willingness to move in a different direction than others. If we want to lead, then the real question — for you and me — is how can we resist the pull of conformity and stand courageously in truth and right? How can we live the values that make us and our colleagues trustworthy?

1. The first step is to have clear, strong, and committed values. What do you believe in? And how resolutely are you willing to stand behind those beliefs? Are you willing to be vulnerable? To be embarrassed? To be disliked? To be fired? Powerful, trustworthy leaders answer yes to all of those questions.

2. The next step is to want to see what is going on around you

Read the rest here:  http://peterbregman.com/articles/the-high-cost-of-conformity-and-how-to-avoid-it/#.Viiz0MvD9nE


I have only come across a handful of brilliantleaders and managers in my working career.


The ingredient these people shared was, they were intrinsically drawn to “doing the right thing”. The “right thing” for these leaders and managers wasn’t always popular. The act of choosing for them was sometimes personally agonising, but they still made those decisions.

When questioned, many leaders and managers know what “doing the right thing” is, but quite often,  mysteriously,  they just don’t make that decision.  Thus, opportunities are lost, credibility is questioned and results are lower than expected.

Sometimes leaders and managers don’t “do the right thing” because they:

▪ Take the least line of resistance
▪ Are swayed and intimidated by counter opinion
▪ Don’t have the confidence to make difficult decisions
▪ Don’t believe or are not in touch with their intuition
▪ Are simply not brave enough
▪ Are blinkered to values which are inclusive, caring and fair

Let’s face it if everyone “did the right thing” we would have little need forregulation or employment law in the way in which we have it now.

We would never unfairly dismiss or discriminate against people.  We would never allow disrespectful behaviour.  We would naturally want to consult with people whose very livelihood was affected by possible redundancy.  We would want people to have appropriate work/life balance.   Wouldn’t we?

Businesses frequently find statute and regulation to be prohibitive and frustrating.  In the worst scenario, employers may see regulation as a barrier to getting what they want and employees may use regulation to beat the employer about the head when they are unjustifiably disgruntled.

I’m not advocating we shouldn’t have any regulation, or guidance or indeed laws about employing people.  Safeguards need to be in place, and expectations need to be clarified.  Both employers and employees need to have in place a certain amount of protection. I’m just saying if you are a brilliant leader or manager, you don’t need them in order to know what the right thing to do is, in most situations.

A brilliant leader and manager will rarely have to buy in expert employment law advice or instigate formal procedures for the sake of it.  Instead, they regularly and routinely take consistent action and use guiding principles such as:

▪ Draw up simple and helpful guidelines and policies
▪ Have standards for everything they do which are accessible and simple to execute

Read the rest here: http://peopledevelopmentmagazine.com/2012/11/29/the-secret-ingredient-of-brilliant-leaders-and-managers/#utm_sguid=144546,b1e3bbd3-979a-73d8-0085-b705024a6a26#utm_sguid=144546,fda51ff3-7232-c646-757e-26b0dff3b70e

Words Mean Things by Jim Johnson

Leaders are in powerful positions.  We sometimes forget that.  We often fail to realize how much weight our words carry with the teams we lead.  Careless words, harsh words, and thoughtless words will no far more harm than good.

But the opposite is true, too.  Caring words, encouraging words, and meaningful words have the potential to build up a team member in more ways than we can imagine.

When you discover something your team or another team outside of your area has done that could possibly adversely affect your company, what do you say?

  • “How could you be so stupid?!”
  • “Who’s responsible?!”
  • “There will be hell to pay!”

Or is there a better way to say it?

  • After you gather the right folks in a room, ask them, “Can someone summarize the situation?  Focus on the facts.”
  • “Tell me how you came to this decision.  What criteria/resources did you use in your process?”
  • “Was there a reason that you didn’t come to me for assistance?  Or another leader?”
  • “Knowing what you know now, what is your course of action to resolve this?”
  • “What did you learn from this?”

In which scenario will your team respond with action leading to resolution?

Too often, leaders pull out the broad sword of authority and start cutting people down.  They call them into a conference room in order to shame them into submission.  The people then walk out defeated with no motivation to do anything about the bad situation.  In fact, it is worse.  Resolution must be found – all through the filter of fear.

Leaders must help their teams make solid, sound decisions.  There must be room for failure.  And when failure happens (and it will), there must be an environment where resolution can occur while lessons are learned.

Leaders, words mean things.  People will remember harsh words directed towards them far beyond a “meets expectations” annual review.  People will also remember when you helped them develop into a solid decision-maker.  They will remember that you are more concerned with their development than your authority and ability to be right.

“A good word costs no more than a bad one.”
(English proverb)