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Triple Portrait of Cardinal de Richelieu, Philippe de Champaigne, 1642 (Courtesy: National Gallery, London)

How Bringing Self to Work Inspires Ethical Behaviour

Idea posted: December 2018
  • Learning & Behaviour

People have different ‘selves’: the same person might be a politician, a grandparent, an avid golfer, and an aspiring novelist, for example. New research shows that if you believe that how you act in one self reflects who you are in all your selves — for example, being a ruthless politician makes you a ruthless person as a whole — you are less likely to commit immoral acts. This research offers new evidence that encouraging employees to bring their personal selves to work encourages moral behaviours and ethical decisions in the workplace.

Idea #722
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Portrait of artists Jean Baptiste de Champaigne and Nicolas de Plattemontagn (Courtesy: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam)

Why Workplace Conversations Are More Successful than You Believe

Idea posted: November 2018
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

In conversations with new people, most people underestimate how positive of an impression they are making A new study reveals the prevalence of this ‘liking gap’: the fact that most conversation partners like you more than you believe. This liking gap can have implications in the workplace, including the discouragement of collaborative ventures and an additional challenge for new employees.

Idea #720
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Source: Pixabay

Typical Air Quality in Offices Hurts Cognitive Function

Idea posted: September 2017
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

Controlled laboratory experiments yield evidence that air quality in conventional offices will impact our cognitive abilities, compared to the quality in ‘green’ offices and buildings.

Idea #669
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Star Trek crew members, 1968, Chekov, Uhura, Scott and Sulu  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Leader–Team Member Relationships 2: Impact Job Satisfaction, Trust and Empowerment

Idea posted: August 2017
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

In addition to confirming that the quality of relationships between leader and subordinates impacts performance, a new meta-analysis of the research also identifies why these relationships have such an impact: because they affect the role clarity, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, motivation, empowerment and most importantly, trust.

Idea #671
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The National Economic Impact of Lack of Sleep

The National Economic Impact of Lack of Sleep

Idea posted: February 2017
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: RAND Europe

The current epidemic of lack of sleep in today’s society is not only unhealthy and unproductive for the individual, but has a real economic impact at national levels.

 

Idea #643
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Receptionists at DICE in Stockholm, 2008 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Mindfulness Helps Service Employees Regulate Their Emotions

Idea posted: January 2017
  • Learning & Behaviour

In order to maintain their poise, interactive service employees often have to squelch their impulses when dealing with emotionally filled interactions. The stress created by the need to ‘surface act’ can be significantly mitigated through the practice of mindfulness.

Idea #642
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Agricultural calendar, Le Maître du Boccace de Genève, c.1448-1475 (Courtesy: Musée Condé)

Variety Leads to Happiness — If There’s Enough Time!

Idea posted: December 2016
  • Learning & Behaviour

Does variety in activities make us happy? New research shows that time makes the difference. Variety is welcomed over the course of a day or for longer periods, when we’re trying to stay stimulated; however, it’s unwelcomed within short periods such as an hour, when multiple activities feel unproductive.

Idea #636
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The Sleeping Shepherd, Aubry-Lecomte (1787-1858) after a painting by Raymond Monvoisin (Courtesy: Bibliothèque nationale de France)

Why Sleep Matters

Idea posted: September 2016
  • Learning & Behaviour

Sleep deprivation is impacting the professional performance, health, and social and emotional well-being of workers of all ages. Companies must take the issue of poor sleep seriously, rejecting cultures that encourage late night working hours and conveying to their employees the personal and organizational benefits of quality sleep.

Idea #622
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A foot-race at the Panathenaea, Greece, 800-480 BC (Source:  Encyclopædia Britannica)

How to Inspire Resistant Employees to Embrace Health and Wellness

Idea posted: April 2016
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Employee health and wellness programs often suffer from low participation. Credible and consistent support and involvement from top management can make the difference. Two researchers identify the five behaviours of transformational leaders who inspire and motivate full employee participation.

Idea #596
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Group spinning Portland Spin Studio, 2013 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Incentivizing Managers to Promote Employee Health: The 10% Solution

Idea posted: February 2016
  • Learning & Behaviour

In a recent study, a majority of managers agreed that companies should incentivize managers to promote employee wellness by linking their compensation — specifically 10% of bonuses and promotions — to the employee wellness activities and initiatives they have implemented.

Idea #585
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Detail from Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, July, c. 1412-1416 (Courtesy: the Musée Condé, Chantilly)

Companies Must Be Sincere About their Flexible Work Arrangements

Idea posted: November 2015
  • Learning & Behaviour

The accepted wisdom is that by helping employees to achieve an optimal work-life balance, flexible work arrangements (FWAs) — theoretically at least — help to increase employee work engagement and commitment to the organization. A new study, showing an inverse relationship between FWAs and work engagement over time, reveals that offering FWAs without a supportive employee culture in place becomes an empty gesture.

Idea #567
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Millennials 6: Attitudes Differ Based on Age and Gender — Sometimes

Idea posted: October 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: INSEAD

A global survey of Millennials from around the world looks at the impact of age and gender on attitudes related to issues such as work-life balance, greatest fears, and retirement. (Editor’s Note: This article is based on Part 6 of the survey.)

Idea #560
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How Supervisors and Co-Workers Stop Anxiety from Hurting Performance

Idea posted: September 2015
  • Learning & Behaviour

Workplace anxiety leads to emotional exhaustion, which in turn reduces job performance. The quality of relationships between employees and their supervisors and their fellow employees goes a long way toward mitigating this emotional exhaustion and thus improving performance. 

Idea #544
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Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, an illustration for the 1898 Swedish edition by James Mahoney

Bullying Bosses: Don’t Just Take It, Fight Back

Idea posted: February 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Employees victimized by a bullying boss should not accept to be victims. While they may think that fighting back will make matters worse, a new study shows that employees who refuse to accept the abuse feel better about themselves, their jobs, and their career prospects than those who accept their ‘victim identity’.

Idea #488
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The Harvesters, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1565. Courtesy the Metrolopitan Museum, New York

Does Work/Life Balance Help or Hurt Productivity?

Idea posted: January 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

Does paying attention to the work-life balance issues of employees increase productivity and the competitiveness of a business? Or, as pessimists might argue, is productivity and work-life balance (WLB) in direct conflict? New research shows that in fact WLB is more neutral than either proponents or pessimists believe — neither hurting nor particularly helping productivity. The decision on whether to implement WLB practices may rest on a completely different factor: the social norms of the countries in which the business activity takes place.

Idea #475
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Two Big Black Hearts, Jim Dine, 1985, Bronze, courtesy deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln MA

Negotiate a Career with a Heart for You and Your Employees

Idea posted: November 2014
  • Strategy
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

A career with a heart goes beyond job satisfaction. It means being delighted with every job in your career. It’s waking up every morning excited to get to work. A career with a heart is a career that is self-directed, generates positive emotions and is integrated with overall life of the individual. Developing such a career takes hard work — and is built on a series of mindful negotiations. 

Idea #460
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Tina Turner in 1985, the year after she recorded 'What's Love Got to Do With It?' (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

What’s Love Got to Do with Work?

Idea posted: July 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

A culture of companionate love — defined as affection and compassion — in the workplace can lead to greater employee satisfaction and engagement, while a culture that undermines such emotions leads to unhappy workers… and customers.

Idea #412
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1950s office workers, in cats eye glasses (Source: Wikifashion.com)

Happiness at Work: How Daily Reminders Improve Employee Morale

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Learning & Behaviour

Employee happiness improves when employees focus on maximizing their happiness. Deliberately taking steps to maximize happiness at work can lead to positive behavioural changes. Companies can help employees through daily technology-driven individual interventions that are more effective than the occasional company picnic or visit to the stadium.

Idea #410
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The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli, 1781, Detroit Institute of Art

How Sleep Deprivation Can Cause Unethical Behaviour

Idea posted: June 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour

Are your employees working longer hours? This is the case with most organizations today. Look deeper and you might find that they are sleep deprived as a result. This Idea suggests that such sleep deprivation can lead to more unethical behaviour at work, but there may be a simple, short-term solution: a cup of coffee!

Idea #385
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The Feast of Attila the Hun by Mór Than, 1870, the Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

Ways to Cope with Abusive Superiors

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Abusive supervision can have negative effects on employee performance. However, according to this Idea, how an employee copes with such abuse and their level of conscientiousness can be determining factors as to just how deep these negative effects are. Read on to find out how to minimize the effects of abusive supervision in your organization.

Idea #367
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Why books are always better than movies? An image made by Massimo Barbieri using the free software Gimp, 2009 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Understanding Dreams: A New Tool for the Executive Coach?

Idea posted: April 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: INSEAD

Dreams can provide powerful clues to someone’s mental and emotional state. They can also be a ‘path’ to conflict resolution and problem-solving, helping people confront deep-seated fears and concerns. Dream recall can, therefore, be an important part of executive and leadership coaching.

Idea #371
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Self-Reflective Job Titles Reduce Emotional Exhaustion

Idea posted: January 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour

Allowing employees to give themselves self-reflective job titles — the title of Berkshire Hathaway’s event organizer is Director of Chaos, for example — helps them affirm their identity and, even in the most stressful of jobs, reduce emotional exhaustion. The result is less staff turnover, better teamwork, and higher performance.

Idea #305
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Positive and Negative Drivers of Creativity

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

There is no doubt that creativity is essential for organizations to thrive. But how can you inspire creativity in your organization? This Idea suggests that in addition to the popular perception that positivity inspires high creativity, negative affects also have an important role to play. In fact, when a combination of both negative and positive effects occur together, the highest levels of creativity take place.

Idea #266
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The Sleeping Shepherd, lithograph by Jean-Baptiste Aubry-Lecomte (1787-1858) after a painting by Raymond Monvoisin (The French National Library, Paris)

The Importance of Sleep for Work

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Learning & Behaviour

According to this Idea, the science is clear: lack of sleep compromises brain processes and the skills needed for effective leadership. Executives — and indeed everyone — should get at least 7–9 hours sleep in order to perform at their best. Read on for some suggestions on how to create a culture that understands and values sleep in your organization.

Idea #257
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The Laughing Cavalier (detail), Frans Hals, 1624. (Source: The Wallace Collection, London)

Reasons to Be Cheerful: Positivity Linked to Profitability

Idea posted: October 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Over-optimism in business is often seen as a bad thing, associated with recklessness and corporate ‘buccaneering’. New research, however, challenges this view. ‘Against-the-odds’ positivity can, it seems, motivate managers to work harder and propel them towards high performance targets.

Idea #246
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Elizabeth I of England, the Armada Portrait, George Gower, 1588 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Identity Crises: Occupational Hazards for Female Leaders?

Idea posted: October 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Life is notoriously tough and demanding for female leaders. The difficulties, however, are not confined to balancing the commitments of home and working life. Female leaders often find it hard to reconcile their professional roles with their identities as women and feel prevented from being their ‘authentic selves’ at work. Solving the problem may depend on a fundamental shift in organizational values — and reversing ‘gendered definitions’ of leadership.

Idea #239
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Harold Lloyd in 'Safety Last!', 1923, directed by Fed C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor, produced by Hal Roach Studios

Managing Stress by Building Resilience

Idea posted: October 2013
  • Learning & Behaviour

Many people in the business world today are experiencing high levels of stress, and corporate burnout is becoming a worryingly common phenomenon. According to this Idea, there is a way out that involves four simple steps. By making these steps a habit and therefore a natural part of your being, you can lead yourself to a better and more productive lifestyle.

Idea #242
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Avoiding the Acceleration Trap

Idea posted: October 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Is your organization stuck in an ‘acceleration trap’? If you demand that your employees constantly give you the same level of accelerated effort, however committed they are, eventually their energy will burn out and the company’s performance will suffer. This Idea explains how to spot this trap, break free from it, and avoid getting stuck in this harmful position in future.

Idea #231
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The Board Game, Magdelena Giesek, 2010. View her work at www.giesek.com

Gamification and Games at Work that Work

Idea posted: October 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Employers are using gamification — the introduction of games in the workplace — to make work more enjoyable and ‘fun’, and hopefully improving, in the process, employee engagement and motivation. But mandated fun is considered no fun at all, unless employees consent to the game. Without consent, new research shows, the gamification attempt will backfire; with consent, gamification will engage employees even though the essential core task has not changed.

Idea #228
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The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs, Georges De La Tour, c. late 1620s, Louvre, Paris (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

When Financially Deprived Employees May Shift Moral Standards

Idea posted: October 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour

Although moral standards are valued unequivocally, moral behaviour is another story. Under certain conditions, people will let their moral standards shift. New research shows that financial deprivation is one of those conditions and this can have an impact in the workplace.

Idea #227
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