THRIVE: Life-changing events are just that: life-changing. To the core.

THRIVE: Life-changing events are just that: life-changing. To the core.

Reintegrating back into work isn’t easy after a long-term absence or critical illness, for anyone – the returning employee, their co-workers, or the manager.

Life goes on, or so they say, while the person is away. Work carries on, challenges are met, goals change, and the team sort of ‘re-forms’, either figuring out how to ‘get it done’ in spite of a void if the position is left open, or learning to work with a temporary replacement who does their best to fill in.

Read More

Leadership: Change in the 21st Century is about feelings and perspectives

Leadership: Change in the 21st Century is about feelings and perspectives

Organizations that expect workers to contribute with their heads and hearts must accept that emotions are essential to the new 21st Century management style. The old management paradigm allowed people to have feelings, as long as the feelings were positive. The new management paradigm affirms that managing people is managing feelings.

Read More

Leadership: Strategies for creating positive organizational culture

Thank you to guest blogger Rae Steinbach

Great success of the company

Many of us display a tendency to focus on what went wrong and what tasks are left incomplete in a given situation. Even when we make considerable progress toward our objectives, the elements that could have been performed better tend to be highlighted. While this is a condition of human nature, those seemingly lost opportunities have the potential to negatively impact workplace culture.

Company leaders must recognize this tendency to focus on the negative and the ways it can damage morale and erode company culture. When leaders fail to recognize this fact and take action to reinforce positivity in the workplace, they end up with a negative culture by default.

Typically, the root cause is a lack of communication in the workplace. Although management may participate and maintain annual performance evaluations or encourage an open door policy, these activities do not guarantee effective internal communication nor a positive company culture. The following outlines why organizational culture matters and provides a few key strategies for how to create and foster improved communication to establish a positive workplace.

Why positivity needs to be reinforced

We, as humans, have evolved to display a bias toward negativity. In the environment of our ancestors, this bias was beneficial as it provided a focus on elements that represented a threat to survival. In the modern context, we are not as directly exposed to the same threats. However, the negativity bias remains which is why negative news stories get more attention and why political attack ads tend to be more successful than positive campaigning.

Where no deliberate effort to promote a positive company culture exists and given our tendency to focus on the negative, company culture tends to shift towards the negative. If a negative company culture is allowed to flourish, the affect on employee engagement may impact productivity.

Avoiding negativity is good. However, the benefits of establishing a positive company culture must be examined. Companies that posses a positive culture tend to be more profitable and retain employees that are more frequently engaged and more productive. Collateral benefits include employees spending less on average on healthcare and employees logging fewer sick days.

A positive culture depends on communication

Communication makes a big difference when creating a positive company culture. Leaders must develop systems for regular feedback and schedule time for staff communication.

A positive initial mission for managers is to schedule regular staff communication meetings. Weekly employee check-ins and one-on-one meetings allow employees to provide regular feedback which can be addressed in a timely manner. A weekly meeting gives your employees the time they need to voice any concerns and provides managers with an opportunity to give constructive feedback.

Additionally, management must ensure that employees receive recognition for their work. When people receive feedback only on what went wrong, a negative culture is reinforced. Managers need to be supportive, provide recognition for a job well done, and demonstrate appreciation for both the regular and outstanding effort delivered by employees. 

Effective communication is a key to building a positive company culture. With modern HR technologies, leaders can automate and streamline many of the necessary communication functions in the workplace. Systems for regular feedback and recognition make it much easier to maintain a positive workplace culture where employees are more engaged and more productive.

Original article by Rae Steinbach.  Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course. @araesininthesun

Edited for Maestro's audience by Richard A. Wale, Maestro Quality Inc.

Managing Dynamic Change in 2018

Managing Dynamic Change in 2018

For years, I have witnessed companies struggle with creating a better workplace, good profits, and true growth by introducing improvements into every function and process. Competitive pressures keep increasing, the pace of change keeps accelerating, and companies MUST continually search for higher levels of quality, service, and overall business agility. The treadmill moves faster, companies work harder, but results improve slowly or not at all. Dynamic change is not a DIY project.

Read More

THRIVE: Control, Acceptance, and Letting Go

THRIVE: Control, Acceptance, and Letting Go

Going to discouraging or negative places is natural when coping with an intense life challenge such as critical illness. But how long do you allow yourself to stay there? Can you think of a time when you were in a hard place and all of a sudden, your mood or outlook spontaneously changed for the better? Perhaps you were deep in the flow of your work, out for a walk, or even doing some housework.

Read More

Leadership: How attributional style errors contribute to faulty thinking

Leadership: How attributional style errors contribute to faulty thinking

There is a tendency for us to exaggerate our own talents – to believe we are above average in our endowment of positive traits and abilities - even when being modest in our self-assessment. The inclination to exaggerate our own talents is amplified by our tendency to misperceive the causes of certain events. 

Read More

Leadership: How do you explain good or bad events?

Leadership: How do you explain good or bad events?

When optimists experience negative events, they tend to think "this is temporary, for this particular event only, and I'm not the cause of this event." When optimists experience positive events, they tend to think "This is permanent, this is true for all life events, and I'm the cause." 

An optimist explains the cause of good life events as being permanent, global, and internal: “I succeeded because I'm good.” An optimist explains the cause of bad life events as being temporary, specific, and external:“I failed because that assessment was only examining one part of my ability and it was too difficult.”

Read More

Leadership, positive emotions, and making a difference

Leadership, positive emotions, and making a difference

How often are you or someone around you negative about society, other people, or the world in general?  If only you had the power to change things.  If only you had money like Bill Gates, you could make a difference in life.  Well, the truth is that you can make a difference in this world…and it doesn’t have to cost a thing.

Read More

Leadership: the importance of being optimistic and the pitfalls

Leadership: the importance of being optimistic and the pitfalls

There have been enough corporate scandals in recent times to create healthy skepticism towards optimism. CEOs who project a Pollyanna-ish view that everything’s rosy in the corporation are not necessarily wise or nor effective, and definitely not authentic. Rather, an authentic leader speaks openly and frankly, with realism. When a leader is able to resonate honestly with those he or she leads, he or she can then point out a positive perspective or path available. Leading with optimism, and projecting it for others to adopt, is meant to be done in a realistic manner. 

Read More

Positive Emotions, Leadership, and the Bottom Line

Positive Emotions, Leadership, and the Bottom Line

According to well-documented research from both the Gallup Organization and the Hay Group, roughly 50 to 70 percent of how employees perceive their organization’s climate can be traced to the actions of one person—the leader. More than anyone else, the person in charge creates the conditions and reinforces the tone-from-the-top that directly affect people’s moods at work and ultimately their ability to perform for themselves, their teams, and the organization.

A positive climate protects the bottom line by protecting the organization's reputation; reducing employee turnover; preventing incidents of workplace violence and harassment and complaints involving Human Rights and Ministry of Labour; protecting the business owners and leaders from personal liability. Hence, an authentic positive climate requires a conscious daily moment-by-moment commitment beyond town-hall meetings, team-building events, and rah-rah meetings.

Read More