Want a Healthier Workplace? Sing!

The power of singing became apparent to me in Nepal. My friend Clare and I got lost hiking in the Kathmandu Valley. We stumbled upon a Nepali army outpost and were surrounded by soldiers who aimed their machine guns at us. Long—true—story short, we sang our way out of it. Thinking back, I still cringe at our stupidity, our illiteracy. I marvel at the kindness, and the singing, of Nepal's soliders. They even taught us a Nepalese marching song. It involves stomping one’s feet and yelling something like “Denah, denah, denah haah.” Tramping around Nepal alone isn’t recommended (in fact, I believe it may be illegal). The key thing I learned is that you can, indeed, sing your way out of trouble. “If everyone started off the day singing, just think how happy they’d be.”— Lauren Myracle, Shine We have abysmal employee engagement rates in the U.S. according to Gallup research. In a 2013 Monster.com study, more Americans said they hate their jobs than other developed nations’ workers. We need—pun intended—concerted action: we need to sing. I’m not talking about the irritating guy on the other side of the mouse-maze of florescent-lit cubicles, the one who won’t stop humming “What … [Read more...]

Women Work Your Connections

Imagine that I’m strapping you into the pilot’s seat of a 747 right this second. I expect you to fly and land the plane safely with no instructions, no experience, no co-pilot (auto or otherwise), and no radio to contact with the tower. How does that feel? How successful do you think you’ll be? For women, being told we need to work our connections to better business and professional advantage—to advance ourselves and our causes—feels an awful lot like putting our buns in that pilot’s seat. Go on gals, take that solo-flight. You’re educated. After all, you have a graduate degree in, say, psychology so why can’t you smoothly pilot this (business) plane? Why is it so critical that we women get much better at working our connections? Connections become relationships, relationships equate to success: sales, promotions, new opportunities, more champions and alliances, and growth-to-results that we really want. What I (Unfortunately) Hear Women Say I have so many conversations with creative, talented, sharp-as-whip women where a “connections” issue flared up. During these conversations, here are the types of things I most frequently hear: The Self-Doubter: “I know, I should … [Read more...]

It Doesn’t Pay To Be Stingy With Praise by Sue Caba

Do you praise your employees five times more often than you criticize them? If not, you’re missing one of the most cost-effective techniques for building employee engagement, increasing profits, improving safety records and lowering absenteeism. Praise, after all, is free. Employees who don’t get enough praise or feel their boss doesn’t listen are 30 percent more likely than other workers to suffer a heart attack and three times more likely to look for another job within a year, according to research by Harvard, Gallup and The Aberdeen Group. Positive feedback doesn’t have to be--in fact, shouldn’t be--excessive.  A simple “thank you,” or “Hey, loved the way you worded that letter,” is often appropriate, so long as it’s sincere. Why does it work? Because receiving an “atta-girl” gives your brain a little shot of dopamine--the body’s feel-good hormone and neurotransmitter. And that little burst of pleasure prompts you to repeat the behavior that prompted the rewarding feeling. Yet, very few managers practice the art of praise. The Gallup Organization has analyzed the responses of many thousands of employees, surveyed on job satisfaction in the past five decades. Only … [Read more...]

Trust Your Instincts: Christina Lattimer

One of the coolest—most fearless—things about Christina Lattimer is that she lives her own advice: trust your instincts. Start a consultancy business based your own leadership model during the worst economic downturn of a century? Check. Build a global social community of like-minded "people development" souls? Check. Interview one of the most prominent business leaders (Sir Richard Branson) in the world? Check. Own up to making "every mistake in the book" as a leader, and devote yourself to giving others the benefit of what you learned. Check. Fear of failure, making mistakes, doesn't stop Christina. Today, she helps leaders develop confidence in their own inner guidance too. Her e.Mile People Development Magazine is a Top 100 Socially Shared Leadership Blog, and her e.MILE global community of people development experts grows daily. (e.MILE is an acronym for MOTIVATE: INSPIRE: LEAD: ENGAGE.) Christina is also recognized as a "Top 101 Leadership Speaker" in the United Kingdom. Fearless Females Forum:  5Cs with Christina Lattimer "Realize that everything you need is inside you...it is there, trust me." What’s the most courageous decision you've made? My … [Read more...]

The Power to Build: Elena Balasa

At age 10, Elena Balasa’s father asked her what she’d do if their home in Romania burned down and she had nothing left. “I will be desperate and I will cry so hard,” Elena replied. “No,” her father said, “You will think of what you need to do so you can build a better house than before.” Starting over, metaphorically building a better house, is how Elena lives her life. Engineers, Elena and her "college sweetheart" husband began trying to immigrate legally to the U.S. in 1990—with no success. After becoming Canadian residents, in 2003 her husband was offered a job as an engineer manager in Salt Lake City, Utah. Together, they had to decide whether to start over in a new country. “When we decided to emigrate we knew our challenges: different culture, no close family around us, starting our life again when we were 38 years old and most families are settling down at this age. However, we didn’t realize then how challenging the transition would be!” Elena says. Today, Elena says she’s reached her “biggest dream.” She and her husband are U.S. citizens. They have a cherished daughter, good careers, and opportunities to learn and grow. Elena is working on her MBA, volunteers … [Read more...]

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