Saying “thank you” is the ultimate win/win. Research shows that expressing gratitude increases feelings of personal well being.
If you are looking for someone to practice your “thank you’s” on, start close to home. John Gottman, Executive Director of the Relationship Research Institute of Seattle says: “Masters of relationships have a habit of scanning the world for things they can thank their partner for. People whose relationships go down the tubes scan the world for their partner’s mistakes.”
Please share your thoughts with us! What happened when you upped the level of thanks you expressed to people around you? Share your responses to the weekly discussion question on our forum: Community of Practice Forum
What are some of the most off-putting email subject lines? BBC News Hour commentator Lucy Kelloway says they include: “Please Read,” “Request,” and “Reminder.” She also ignores “Dear Colleague,” asking why she’d bother to read something clearly sent to all employees, which she would doubtless find out about anyway.
Kelloway insisted she would be quite likely to open an email entitled “orange chocolate biscuits.” Okay, sure. But we all know this kind of ruse will backfire unless orange chocolate biscuits are actually in the offing.
Assuming no desserts are involved, the best subject line, she concluded, was one that conveyed the entire message—so that opening the email wasn’t even necessary. And brevity is the soul of any effective email.
Please let us know: How do you get people at work to open your emails? Share your responses to this weekly discussion question here.
The current news story about bullying incidents in the Miami Dolphins franchise has taken some extraordinary turns. At first there was disbelief, even derision, surrounding the notion that that one burly pro football player could be bullied by another. “Why not just ‘man up’ and have it out?” much of the talk went. But as details emerged, the scope of the problem began to dawn. While there is surely much we do not know about this situation, there is one thing we do know. Professional football constitutes a workplace, and no one should be harassed or “bullied’ in any workplace.
Statistics vary, but some studies reveal that nearly half of all American workers have been affected by workplace abuse, either as a target of such behavior—from yelling, threats, and rumors to manipulative techniques such as isolation and sabotage of work performance—or as witnesses to abuse aimed at a co-worker.
It’s not clear if bullying is actually on the rise or if more people feel free to discuss it now that the phenomenon has come to light. We are relieved that these practices have emerged from the shadows so that those who are vulnerable will feel freer to express themselves.
Please let us hear from you: Have you been bullied or witnessed bullying in the workplace? What did you do in response? Share your responses to this weekly discussion question here.
No one likes being taken for granted, at home or on the job. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, overwhelming numbers of employees are feeling mistreated on the job by their own co-workers. Consider how far the power of gratitude can go toward reversing lingering resentments.
Recognize, praise, and reinforce people you appreciate. Tell them how what they did made a difference. Remember that unexpressed gratitude is the same as ingratitude.
Please let us know: Think about a recent time you shared your appreciation for someone you work with. How did he or she respond? How does giving appreciation at work change the workplace environment? Share your responses to this weekly discussion question here.
In a study by Georgetown University and the Thunderbird School of Global Management, 96% of nearly 3,000 participants say they have experienced uncivil behavior in the workplace. Now organizations from Dish Satellite Corp to the NSA are following a lead set by companies like the employee-friendly Southwest Airlines, and implementing programs to improve civility among co-workers.
Warm and fuzzy time wasting? Not at all. Cisco Systems estimated the cost of employee incivility at $8.3 million annually and took action to counter the weakened commitment that resulted.
At the top of Georgetown U Professor Christine Porath’s list of rudeness-combating tips: Never criticize people behind their backs.
We agree. Everyone gets irritated with co-workers sometimes, but our belief is that if your frustration is great enough to vent to a third party, you need to discuss your issue face-to-face with the person concerned.
Please let us know: If someone comes to you with a gripe or complaint about someone else, what do you do? Do you get involved or send the individual back to the source of his or her concern? Do you ever enlist someone as your “sounding board” instead of going to the source of your concern? Share your responses to this weekly discussion question here.
One of the most dangerous myths in our culture is that vulnerability is a weakness..."Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never a weakness." We agree with Brené Brown, Ph.D., University of Houston researcher and author of The Gifts of Imperfection.
This is why we have often said that feeling descriptions like "angry," "frustrated," and "betrayed" don't work as well as "embarrassed," "inadequate," and "isolated." Although the first three might be easier to admit to, they lack vulnerability and the power that brings. Being vulnerable gives us the power to break through defensiveness by appealing to people's compassion. Then they can fully hear our concerns without feeling that they have to protect themselves from us.
We want to hear from you! What happened when you tried communicating your own vulnerability? Share your responses to this weekly discussion question here.
Still upset with your boss for not including you in an important meeting? Still annoyed at your neighbor for bringing baby back ribs to your vegetarian potluck? Your back may be suffering too! Researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that people who practice forgiveness experienced fewer feelings of anger, resentment, depression—and fewer aches and pains. “Our emotions, muscle tension, and thoughts can directly influence the strength of our pain signals,” explains researcher James W. Carson, Ph.D.
Grudges are not only bad for us physically, they don’t do much for us emotionally either. They hurt us way more than they hurt the person we are angry with. Start the process of giving up a grudge by setting an intention to do so. Encourage even the smallest feelings of forgiveness, and replace negative thoughts with reasons to let go. Ask yourself: How does it help me to hold onto this anger? Chances are you will come up short of a good answer.
We want to hear from you! What happened when you tried replacing anger and resentment with forgiveness? Share your responses to this weekly discussion.
What if you're working with someone whom you genuinely dislike? According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, our “biased expectancy” can create a self-fulfilling prophecy in any interaction you have with that person. In other words, because you don’t ever expect to respond positively to any idea they have—you won’t.
Ignoring the situation is unlikely to help. To break through your negative view and begin to improve the relationship, try initiating even casual dialogue. Let that person do most of the talking while you become a great listener. Make good eye contact, lean in, and ask questions. They will be drawn to you because of your interest in what they have to say—and you might even hear something that gets you to like them.
We want to hear from you! What happened when you tried this kind of casual curiosity with someone who you have typically not liked? Share your responses to this weekly discussion.