If you find yourself feeling drained after a long Zoom session, or perhaps a series of them, Stanford researchers say you are in good company. Video chat platforms have features that inadvertently exhaust the human body and mind. In the first peer-reviewed article that systematically deconstructs Zoom fatigue from a psychological perspective, Professor Jeremy Bailenson highlights why videoconferencing can be exhausting, and offers ideas for mitigation:
To evaluate your level of Zoom Fatigue, you can take a 15-item questionnaire, click here.
How exhausting do you find videoconferencing and what are you doing about it? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Being a leader involves getting buy-in for your decisions, even from those who may not agree with you. In recent research by Harvard Business School professor Laura Huang and Harvard MBA student Ryan Yu for Huang’s new book, Edge: Turning Adversity Into Advantage, 60 leaders were observed and interviewed as they tried to change minds of people who initially disagreed with them. Depending on what was driving their detractor’s resistance, they approached the situation with one of the following three targeted strategies:
What strategies have you used to identify the source of a colleague’s objections to your ideas and change their mind? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
We only know one thing for sure about post-pandemic workplaces: They will be different. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Laura Empson, professor at London’s Case Business School and Jennifer Howard- Grenville, professor at the Cambridge Judge Business School, define this pandemic as a liminal experience, an “in between” occurrence that disrupts normal life for a prolonged time and from which those who have survived return transformed. Such experiences are disturbing, but “also represent potent opportunities for reflection, discovery, and even reinvention.”
In the post-Covid world, leaders should not try to recreate their pre-Covid cultures, say the authors. Since people will return with unanswered questions and potentially incompatible expectations, leaders need to recognize this and consider how to respond. They suggest steps leaders can take now to prepare their organizations to emerge stronger in the post-pandemic world.
How do you think your workplace might alter after the pandemic, and how do you
plan to sustain the best changes? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Employees in high-trust organizations are more productive, more energetic, collaborate better, suffer less stress and stay with their employers longer. So affirms research conducted by Paul J. Zak, founding director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies, Professor of Economics, Psychology, and Management at Claremont Graduate University, and CEO of Immersion Neuroscience. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Zak identifies eight measurable behaviors that foster trust:
“Ultimately,” Zak says, “you cultivate trust by setting a clear direction, giving people what they need…and getting out of their way.”
Does your organization inspire trust, and how does that affect performance? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Once upon a time, when many of us worked in offices, a potential misunderstanding at work might be mitigated with a “pop in” visit. But there are certain things about digital communication that may not be so easily adjustable, and one of those things, experts say, is how we communicate with our bosses.
According to Mollie West Duffy, a co-author of No Hard Feelings, which looks at how emotions affect our work lives, “We know through research that we’re much more likely to read into a lack of emotion in digital communication as being negative, because we’re missing all the context cues,” she said. So if your boss says, “We need to chat tomorrow,” without elaboration, you might well assume there’s trouble on the horizon.
Though dodging that ominous chat might be tempting, it’s best to meet the moment straight on—though not a bad idea to try to carve out some space and time when you are unlikely to be interrupted by school-aged children or the family dog. And, whether the topic raised is negative or positive, remember that you have the obligation to consciously share what you want and need. According to Duffy, “directness is often the best way to get what you need from your manager, and being proactive and naming an issue rather than hoping it will go away on its own can help give you agency in improving a bad situation.”
How has your relationship with your boss altered during the pandemic, and what have you done to improve it? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Learn more about creating a habit around masterful communication with our online learning programs.
The connective, collective power of joy is visible in sports. When a team performs at its best, overcoming competitors and its own internal challenges, every player — and every fan — is close to ecstatic. The “rush” sparks even greater joy, which can fuel further success. But when was the last time you felt such a swell of positive emotion at work?
A survey conducted by global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney points to a pronounced “joy gap” at work. Nearly 90 percent of respondents said that they had expected to experience a substantial degree of joy at work, yet only 37 percent report that such is their actual experience.
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Alex Liu, A.T. Kearney’s managing partner and chairman, says, “Crafting [joyful] business cultures that more consistently engender such experiences can create a much stronger sense of personal interconnection, shared purpose, and heartfelt pride across the organization.” Kearney recommends specific steps leaders can take to increase joy at work:
up’ the culture with a sustained emphasis on diversity, inclusion, apprenticeship, and
personal day-to-day leadership.”
When was the last time you experienced joy at work, and what led to it? Is this the sort
of experience you can help re-create? To join the conversation, click on "Comments" above.
Agreeing with someone is easier than confronting them, and it feels good to be “on the same page.” But conflict-free work environments are virtually non-existent. Disagreement is not only inevitable, but also a normal, healthy part of
relating to others.
Disagreements in the workplace have the potential to lead to better work
outcomes, opportunities to learn, higher job satisfaction, and even improved
relationships born of working through conflicts. Writing in the Harvard Business
Review, Amy Gallo, an HBR contributing editor and author of the HBR Guide to
Dealing with Conflict at Work, offers advice for those who are reluctant to
work—and what was the result? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Anyone who says they have the answer to every important question is either clueless or lying. So says John Hagel III, founder of Silicon Valley’s Center for the Edge and author of The Journey Beyond Fear. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Hagel says, “leaders should ask powerful and inspiring questions, convey that they don’t have the answers, and solicit others’ help to find them.”
“The kind of questions leaders need to ask,” he adds, “are those that invite people to come together to explore major new opportunities that your organization hasn’t identified yet.” For example: “What is a game-changing opportunity?” or “What are emerging, unmet needs of our customers?” or “How can we customize our services to the specific needs of each client?” Focusing on big opportunities is wise because:
“Leaders who ask powerful questions,” concludes Hagel, “have the greatest success in both seizing new opportunities and addressing unexpected challenges —and they build cultures that will carry these benefits into the future.”
What questions have you asked that have made a difference in your organization? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Dreading confrontation, many of us avoid or delay uncomfortable conversations even with co-workers who sit nearby. It’s even easier to
let issues languish when you only see your teammate on a screen.
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Liane Davey, a team effectiveness advisor and author of The Good Fight, offers guidance for managing potential conflict before it escalates:
How have you addressed conflicts with remote co-workers, and were your strategies successful? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
“The one easy way to become worth 50 percent more than you are now is to hone your communication skills. You can have all the brainpower in the world, but you have to be able to transmit it. And the transmission is communication.”
Research backs this up with empirical evidence. A study from the Carnegie Institute of Technology found that 85 percent of a person's success comes from "human engineering"--the ability to effectively communicate, negotiate, and lead, both when speaking and listening. (Technical knowledge comprises the other 15 percent.)
Learn more about creating a habit around masterful communication: Sign up for our BreakThrough Communication winter academy.
If your job involves serving people, part of your work is dealing with their frustration. It's all too easy to take it personally, and—let’s face it—sometimes they do get personal. You may also find yourself having to solve a problem you didn’t create, and then offering an apology on top of that.
But stop yourself if you have a tendency to apologize using some form of these six words: “ I’m sorry you feel that way.”
Writing in Inc., columnist Jason Aten notes that saying this isn’t really an apology at all. “First, you can't actually be sorry for the way someone else feels. You can only be sorry for your own behavior and the things within your control. More important, however, is that the sentiment behind those words is something along the lines of: ‘Look, I don't know why you're being irrational about this. This isn't my fault, and I think it's ridiculous that you're upset with me.’”
Telling someone you're "sorry they feel that way" avoids responsibility for your role in the situation. So, what are your options?
A recent study from Forrester estimated that 10% of U.S. jobs would be automated this year, and some estimate that many more jobs will be automated in the next decade. But perhaps asking which jobs will be eliminated is less relevant than asking which aspects of remaining jobs are unlikely to be automated.
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Stephen M. Kosslyn, former Dean of Social Science at Harvard and author of Building the Intentional University, posits that while routine and repetitive tasks lend themselves to non-human replacement, aspects of jobs that require two critical elements will be difficult to automate.
As Kosslyn points out, employers highly value the kind of “soft” skills that are intrinsically linked to contextual evaluation and emotion: critical thinking, clear communication, and holistic decision-making. “All of this suggests that our educational systems should concentrate not simply on how people interact with technology,” he writes, “… but also how they can do the things that technology will not be doing soon.”
What do you think humans can do much better than machines in the workplace? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
The pandemic will make this a holiday season unlike any other, but that doesn’t mean a holiday party is out of the question. Now, perhaps more than ever, teams want to feel bonded, express feelings of mutual appreciation, and have some good old-fashioned holiday fun.
Here are some suggestions from the Paperless Post blog for a festive Zoom celebration:
Keep in mind that many party festivities, from charades to impromptu dancing, are easily adaptable to an online format. Whatever activities you choose, the important thing is to acknowledge one another, particularly during a time that hasn’t been easy on individuals or companies.
What are you and your team planning to celebrate the holidays? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
If you can do the work well, you can lead other people to do it. Right? Wrong. “Occupying a leadership position is not the same thing as leading,” says executive coach and management professor Monique Valcour. “To lead, you must be able to connect, motivate, and inspire a sense of ownership of shared objectives.”
There is no magic bullet or infallible management tool to ensure good leadership. Instead, Valcour advises creating practices to increase leadership proficiency using the following steps:
What are you doing to promote your own continuous learning as a leader? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
Rude and divisive workers can contaminate an organization’s culture—their disagreeable nature spreading like a virus. They sap productivity and sow discontent. Best to avoid hiring them in the first place, but how?
Writing In The Harvard Business Review, Christine Porath, a professor of management at Georgetown University and author of Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace, offers this guidance: