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...]

Burn-the-Box: Julie Jakopic

Fearless Females Forum is a monthly showcase for inspiring women who found the courage to meet their calling, solve a problem, or take a road less travelled. Burn-the-Box Julie Jakopic, Founder of iLead Strategies, couldn't decide which box to fit into as a kid. An actor, a swimmer, and president of the world affairs club in high school, she felt welcome by peers in all three 'boxes,' yet always a little bit outside them too. She sensed that sticking to one box wasn't where she belonged—but how to play across boxes in our check-box comfortable world? “Living outside of boxes wasn’t always easy as a kid, but its great as an adult,” Julie says. From cosmetics to energy efficiency to human services, Julie's found success applying a courageous "forget thinking outside the box, burn-the-box" philosophy. To date, she's shared the stage with luminaries like President Obama and change agent Neale Donald Walsch, and focused her energy, insights and intellect connecting across and between adult-style boxes—private, public and non-profit sectors. Julie helps multi-sector leaders transcend “the crazy pervasive things that cross them all.” It takes courage to "burn-the-box" of … [Read more...]

The Best of 2014 from Jone Bosworth

by Susan Caba What do Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and The Walking Dead have in common? What’s the connection between a hug and a personal manifesto? Which is better, striving for power or learning to relax and let go? Oh, the questions we ask! And where do we turn for answers? To Jone Bosworth, of course. I’ve been reading inCourageLeading.com closely for more than a year now, and I’m consistently impressed with Jone’s knack for pulling leadership insights from unlikely sources—the Rolling Stones, Mister Rogers—and, more than that, for encouraging women to both recognize and use our power while, at the same time, giving us permission to relax and release responsibility for making the entire world run right. Not only that, she makes me laugh. Here are some of my favorite posts from 2014: Leadership Guidance from the World’s Nicest Grown-Up: To tell you the truth, I was never a fan of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. As a hard-bitten newspaper reporter, I frankly found the show sappy. But Jone, wiser than I, gleaned 15 leadership lessons from him that I have since come to appreciate. Here’s just one: “You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need … [Read more...]

Dear Smartest Person in the Room

I remember the first time I heard the quote, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” Wow, I thought, I have felt like that, that really resonates. Have you ever felt that way too? If yes, perhaps you and I can get together, we have so much in common. Maybe we should only interact at our Mensa meetings? Let's hunt for new rooms together. Because truly, we’re so darned smart… Stop, giggle, reflection time seriously required. When I get that “smartest person” attack, it usually means I’m not fully tuned in: I’m not actively listening. What's stopping me from listening? Often I catch myself thinking about what I’m going to say. Sometimes at high-powered leadership tables, I fall prey to my funny bone. I get so amused by what I refer to as "Mommy, Mommy, Look-At-Me Syndrome” (or “Daddy, Daddy” as CEOs are still mostly male today) that I completely forget to listen. Call me a big meanie. Allege inappropriate sense of humor. But don’t pretend you haven’t witnessed Daddy, Daddy/Mommy, Mommy or "Hey Everybody, Look-At-Me" in meetings, classes or workshops. You know, when those one or two people in the room talk and talk and talk, sucking up all the … [Read more...]

“DAMN! I am the expert. And it feels great.” by Susan Caba

The notice on my freelance writing site said an agent was looking for a business expert to write a book on leadership. I had recently ghosted a business book (Break Points: Where Businesses Get Stuck) and I needed a new assignment. I decided to look over my publications and see if I could muster enough evidence to convince someone that I was a business writer. I’ve been interested in leadership and management for thirty-some years, in a casual way. Some of my newspaper friends were editors and we would often dissect their business knots. I covered city councils and other governmental organizations, as well as criminal courts--all of which required an eye on human interactions and their consequences. I wrote a monthly Q & A column, interviewing CEOs about their daily routines. But I certainly didn’t consider myself a business writer or an expert on leadership. In fact, I wasn’t sure what my strengths were as a reporter and writer. I’ve been a Jackie-of-all-Trades, which is good in some ways but left me scrambling for focus. If anything, I thought that focus would be the arts, artists and what I loftily refer to as “material culture” (stuff--I was a shopping … [Read more...]

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