By Karen Bridbord, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist and Organizational Consultant
When I wrote about the inflection of workplace culture back in May, I was expecting the pandemic to be a distant memory by now. Remember when we all thought it was going to last three weeks? Yet today, six months into the most significant global health crisis of our lifetime, we find ourselves still grappling with uncertainty.
Instead of creating new rituals to uplift and ground us as we find ourselves, as I recommended in the beginning of the pandemic, we now must find a way to sustain ourselves. We’re collectively exhausted. This pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint, and we need to act accordingly. This includes adjusting our company values and how they’re operationalized in our organizational cultures.
By Suzie Doscher, Executive & Life Coach and Self-help Author
When a company focuses solely on reaching targets and continually pushes employees to reach these goals, the side effects often result in a high turnover and burnout rate. Ironically, this can cause the company NOT to achieve its targets in the desired timeframe. Pushing too hard in one direction results in an inevitable push back from the opposite direction. This is a law of nature that applies to the business world as well.
Stressed employees trying to reach sometimes unrealistic or unnecessary targets tend to operate at half of their capacity. They start to make mistakes and lose track of the details amid their overwhelming work schedules. They tend to suffer physically exhaustion as well. All of this hurts productivity, the very thing the company is trying to increase.
By Rebecca Muller, Community Editor at Thrive Global
What should you do when you know you’re feeling stuck at work, and you know you’re ready for something new — but you don’t know what that something will be? Researchers now call this often stressful stage the “exploratory phase.” And the process of contemplating your next career move — while living with a deep-seated feeling of uncertainty — can be scary.
“Success is pretty much never something that happens immediately or seamlessly,” Traci Stein, Ph.D., M.P.H., a clinical psychologist and adjunct professor at Columbia University, tells Thrive. Stein says it’s important to remind yourself that almost everyone struggles with an exploratory phase in their career at one point or another, and the process isn’t one that should scare you away from trying something new. After all, exploring any new opportunity takes you out of your comfort zone.
By Justin Black, Head of People Science, Glint Platform at LinkedIn
For organizations around the world, the past several months have brought a wave of unknowns. How do we set up our workforce to be successful in a fully remote setting? How do we make sure they’re safe, supported, and informed as things rapidly change? When will we return to the office and what will the impact be on our employees?
The ambiguity is compounded by COVID-19’s novelty — no real playbook exists to help organizations respond and recover from a modern pandemic. CEOs and HR leaders have looked to health and safety officials, peers, and industry experts to help guide their plans.
By Sweta Bothra, Lead Therapist at InnerHour, a Mental Health Platform
What kind of mindset do you have? Is it one that drives you to become the best version of yourself, even when times get tough?
A mindset can be defined as the way in which a person perceives themselves and the world around them. Your mindset can hugely impact your behaviours, ideas and choices you make when it comes to your goals. It can even affect your work, relationship with others and daily routine. Ultimately, the kind of mindset you have defines you who are and who you can become.
There are two types of mindsets – fixed and growth. Let’s look at each in a little more detail.
A person with a fixed mindset typically believes that their qualities are set in stone and therefore cannot be changed. They are more likely to shy away from challenges mainly because of their fear of failing. While a fixed-mindset person would try and avoid making mistakes at all costs, if they do end up making any, they often try to pin them on other, external factors. When it comes to feedback, a person with a fixed mindset usually struggles to accept it. They might become defensive in their approach and might engage in arguments.
How does a fixed mindset develop?
The type of mindset you have typically depends on childhood experiences. Children who were discouraged from embracing challenges and were raised with the idea that everything in life is either black or white most likely grow up to have a fixed mindset. As a result, when life gets tough, children who grow up to have a fixed mindset find it difficult to adapt to changing circumstances.
On the flip side, a person with a growth mindset would welcome challenges and look at them as opportunities to grow. They are more likely to see the glass as half full – which means that they’re able to find the silver lining even when times get difficult. Such individuals are under the belief that their qualities are not carved in stone and can in fact change over time. They are open to feedback and typically use it as a means to better themselves.
How does a growth mindset develop?
Children who were given the opportunity to explore, make their own mistakes, and embrace new challenges and experiences usually grow up to have a growth mindset. They are able to build resilience and pick themselves up after facing setbacks. Such individuals tend to live happier, more fulfilling lives because they’re not afraid of failure and they stay away from the pressure to meet society’s expectations.
Common misconceptions about growth mindset
It can be difficult to develop a growth mindset if we don’t have a good understanding of what it is. Let’s look at some common misconceptions that might be interfering with your ability to change the way you perceive yourself and the world around you.
A growth mindset is something you either have or don’t have
Wrong! Just because you were raised to have a fixed mindset, doesn’t mean that you’re going to think in a fixed manner forever. The good news is that a growth mindset can be developed with the right kind of strategies in place. You can train your mind to bring positive changes in the way you think.
If you have a growth mindset, it means you’re always positive
It’s almost impossible to expect yourself to have a positive ‘can do’ attitude all the time. Bad days are inevitable and that’s okay. Having a growth mindset is not about being in denial about your limitations; instead it’s about embracing them and knowing that in spite of these obstacles you can still persevere and achieve your goals.
A growth mindset only involves focussing on outcomes
While it’s important to focus on outcomes in life, it’s equally important to acknowledge the learning and progress made in the process of attaining an outcome. Important aspects of the process include taking support from others, exploring new techniques and trying out new ways of tackling a concern. When progress and process are rewarded, you are likely to be motivated to keep going even when you encounter setbacks.
Having a growth mindset automatically yields a positive outcome
While a growth mindset sets you up for success, there will be times when things don’t work out the way you wanted them to. But this is all part of the learning process! When you encounter failure, finding opportunities for growth and rewarding the useful lessons learned can make all the difference.
How to shift your mindset
Now that you’re aware of the different facets of a growth mindset, you can take steps to learn about what all can be done to cultivate and strengthen such a mindset.
This might seem obvious, but recognising that you can change the way you think is the first step to fostering a growth mindset. The best part about your brain is that it is “plastic” (ie flexible) and therefore can be molded over time. While simply having awareness may not prompt you to immediately change your thoughts, it can give you the much-needed push you need to make the shift.
Have a morning mindset routine
A great way to foster a growth mindset is to start your day on a positive note. For instance, listening to motivational podcasts or focussing on positive messages first thing in the morning can help make the rest of your day a lot better. This will even improve the quality of your work by boosting productivity and focus.
Challenge your inner critic
How often do you find yourself thinking, “I am not going to be able to do this” or “I will most definitely fail if I try?” While you may not be able to stop yourself from thinking in such a way, you can find ways to take control of your thoughts. Something that can help is maintaining a log of your thoughts; this will help you catch yourself when you are thinking negatively and identify what is triggering such thoughts. When you do find yourself dwelling on the negatives, try and flip into healthier ways of thinking such as, “I am capable of doing this if I put in effort.”
Become accepting of criticism
No one likes to receive negative feedback about their work. However, if you always receive praise for everything you do, it leaves no room for growth and improvement. Think of criticism as an opportunity to learn. More often than not, people are only trying to help you get better at what you do. If you want to cultivate a growth mindset, it’s important to carefully pay attention to others and learn how to embrace criticism. It might not be easy initially, but over time it’ll be worth it!
Similar to a child living in a state of wonder and curiosity, it’s important to keep questioning everything around you to enhance your learning. Whether it’s in a work meeting, at the dinner table or even when you interact with new people – ask questions. Be curious about others’ lives so you can learn and grow from their experiences and mistakes.
Write out a realistic action plan
Think about all the goals you want to achieve, and then, write out your action plan to meet these goals. While creating your action plan, it’s important to be specific about what you want to achieve and how long it will take for you to do so. Additionally, you must also ensure that you’re setting goals and timelines that are realistic. Don’t worry about making mistakes, it’s important that you take the first step and know that the rest will eventually fall into place.
Create an achievement checklist
As you come to the end of your day, spend a few minutes making a mental note of all that you have achieved. The list doesn’t even have to be big or contain huge wins; the purpose of this activity is to help you realise that success doesn’t have to be something monumental. It can even be something as simple as eating a healthy meal or completing all your household chores for the day. While keeping track of your failures can help you grow, dwelling on them can interfere with your productivity and motivation. Instead, ending your day on a positive note will inspire you to wake up the next day feeling a lot happier.
While your thoughts can be influenced by the environment you’re in, remember that you are in charge of what goes on in your mind. With simple strategies in place, you can cultivate healthier thoughts and ultimately, change your life for the better.
By Sweta Bothra, Lead Therapist at InnerHour, a Mental Health Platform
Our daily habits influence our lives in a large way. They determine how we think, behave and interact with others. In fact, according to researchers, our habits account for almost 40% of our behaviour every day.
Building healthy habits can help us achieve our goals, improve our relationships, and live a happier and healthier life. Before we talk about how to build healthy habits, let’s understand how habits are formed in the first place.
The 3 R’s of Habit Formation
Every habit starts off with a three-part psychological pattern referred to as the habit loop.
by Jeff Kavanaugh
As a partner at a consulting firm as well as a professor in the University of Texas’s MBA program, I not only team up with some of the brightest young business minds in the country, but hire them, too. And in the process, I’ve come to suspect that their expectations don’t always match recruiters’ needs.
So to test my suspicion, I recently conducted a survey of over 3,000 students and recruiters to uncover their assumptions about the skills that lead to success in the job market. And the most startling gap that I found had to do with mismatched perceptions about leadership skills.
WHY (AND WHEN) LEADERSHIP IS OVERRATED
By Tim Davis
March 11, 2020 is a day destined for the history books: “WHO Declares Coronavirus Outbreak a Pandemic.” It was that day that, all around the world, leaders began scrambling, ripping through the pages of their crisis playbooks (or quickly creating them), searching for their pandemic play-by-play. Shortly after came the day the markets crashed on March 16, turning the crisis to both a health and economic calamity.
Though etched in our minds with great infamy, it’s days like these that I believe make true leaders. Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr. wouldn’t be the leaders we remember if it weren’t for the fiery trials that forged their legacies. This is true not only for politicians and activists, but also for business leaders. As president of The UPS Store, a business deemed essential throughout the pandemic, I’ve seen what works (and what doesn’t) when leading through a crisis, and how leaders can turn even a global pandemic into an opportunity.
By Jessica Mudditt
Giving advice is often counterproductive, say experts, even when someone asks you for it. Here are some pointers on how to get it right.
Think back to the last time you were discussing a challenge at work and someone chimed in to offer their opinion. Did you welcome their advice? Probably not. It’s more likely you dismissed it and thought to yourself: ‘You have no idea know what's going on.’ Or possibly the more defensive: ‘You don’t even know me.’
Coaching expert and author Michael Bungay Stanier believes that many of us are too quick to jump in with proffered solutions. He discovered that advice-giving has become endemic in the workplace, which prompted him to write The Advice Trap. In it, he argues that our tendency to dispense advice stems from society teaching us that success means having all the answers, and that leaders in particular must prove their value by liberally dispensing it.
By Susan Begeman Steiner
One of the complaints I often hear in companies is “So-and-so does not respond to my emails.” My response is, “What is your agreement with So-and-so about responding to emails?” Invariably I’m told that there is no actual agreement in place.
As much as one might assume that people should respond to emails in a timely manner, that doesn’t mean that they will…unless there is an agreement in place. In the absence of an agreement, your options are to complain, hope the person gets the hint, nag him or try to work around the unworkable situation.
The simple fact is, agreements up front can solve problems before they arise and make interacting with others a lot easier.
Self-Help Book / Personal Development