The month of April was full, and the entire summer months will be the same. For this reason, rest comes for this summer 2022, and I’ll produce more writings in September.
See you soon!
The month of April was full, and the entire summer months will be the same. For this reason, rest comes for this summer 2022, and I’ll produce more writings in September.
See you soon!
Let’s face it; currently, the world is boisterous. There are noises of war, despair, hunger, human displacement, consistent abuse, injustices, power-hungry leaders, integrity deficiencies, blatant mistruths, significant shortages of emotional intelligence, and of course, so much more. Noise in psychology refers to physical or psychological disturbances that interrupt efficient communication systems. Likewise, noise may create biases, sensory differences, misinformation, or discriminatory interest.
Although most humans cannot audibly receive all depictions of “noise” mentioned above, these instances of “noise” still filter into our daily existences, causing shifts in thoughts and emotions. The mind becomes overwhelmed with questions and deep concerns leading to no results.
Psychologists call this analysis paralysis. Analysis paralysis (AP) is an inability to decide due to over-thinking problems. AP often occurs when too much information is thrown at individuals or a group—resulting in consistent concerns and never leading to a decision.
Although this blog’s themes are mostly grounded in organization development, leadership, and industrial-organizational psychology, as might be expected, it is essential to note that analysis paralysis filters into every area of life. It appears in family dynamics, friendships, relationships, student classroom choices, hobbies, health approaches, and exercise patterns. You name it, and AP exists. AP is a driving force in how life is most times done.
In work and daily life, “noise” never ceases. There’s always one decision to make after another. Though some people believe that more to do is a better way, studies show there comes a time when this belief plays out differently, showing that informed knowledge plus simplicity can make life so much easier.
Simplicity does not mean working from bare bones. After all, it is imperative to incorporate technology and specific essentials to run a business. A mindset of simplicity requires the removal of everything considered unnecessary. Simplicity produces productivity because it opens the door to doing a few things well, which often helps grow a company-specific niche. Simplicity also creates environments where decision fatigue is not possible. When there’s less to decide on, AP can diminish. Simplicity breaks down the need for busyness, which provides more time for family and nurtures healthy relationships. Simplicity allows for excellence, helping to build wisdom in deliveries and work.
But the noise never stops, you say? Yes, indeed, the noise of the world continues. However, it is imperative to remain focused on the self of tomorrow. Such as what must be completed today to be better tomorrow. In addition, it opens the door to being a better person the next day. Furthermore, to be readily available in the future and to be eagerly helpful tomorrow. Task-filled actions must be on deep work, which is work grounded in what must get done in this distracted world. The tasks to just finish one thing today!
Doing less may sound like laziness. However, in growing a business, leadership, or even while home keeping, those who focus on one task before starting another have proven to be more successful in every endeavor.
To experience less decision fatigue, remember to:
In the case of I-O psychologists, every client engagement is different. Yet, our work streamlines using theories, practical assessments, scales, and frameworks; while offering uniqueness to each project, we do not reinvent the wheel or complicate processes. Noise is never beneficial for the optimum success of our consultations.
Make life a bit easier by simplifying. The best decisions are made with correct information and appropriate projects to consider at the right time.
Leaders who strive for cohesive work environments consider all angles of this framework. Most leaders strategically aligned to work and nonwork aspects consider setting boundaries the most crucial point in this process. Overlap of work environments and team building events most likely mesh in most circumstances, and it’s up leaders to ensure that the imperatives of setting boundaries are understood.
Most research on workplace boundaries focuses on job responsibilities and work structures and their associated variables. These studies compare the roles of employees and their duties at home. One recent study by Gardner et al. (2021) centered on the boundary management styles of employees. Citing Kossek & Lautsch, 2012, Gardner et al. (2021) noted that “Boundary management styles are defined as the techniques employees use to separate roles in order to attend to work, family, and nonwork duties.” (pg. 132).
Closely associated with this theme, a brief case study concerning a leader and associates is discussed in this article. For example, some employees are eager to assist or help outside of regular work duties. In this case, a manager may share that he/she is moving from one home to the other. Employees who genuinely want to help may offer to assist the manager in the moving process. Moving at any time is not the most straightforward task; therefore, the manager/leader may be inclined to accept the employees’ offer and pay each person a small fee to express gratitude. But would this decision be ethical? Of course not! The leader who declines the proposal is the leader who understands the importance of boundaries. And, with a few promotions and pay raises, the employees who offered to assist with the manager’s move continue to work the same way as intended in the beginning.
But a few years later, the leader notices that one or two people in the original group have begun overstepping significant decisions. The employees start to create untruths, blame others for their mistakes, and refuse to follow basic guidelines. So much so that these instances escalate to human resources. The employees then become even more defiant. Nonetheless, the leader can breathe a sigh of relief that he/she followed all protocols and maintained boundaries throughout employment. Should the employee be let go from the organization, the leader who followed company guidelines from the beginning, prevents major issues from occurring.
Maintaining work and nonwork guidelines should never be based on instincts alone. To prevent future employee-to-leadership problems, it is advisable always to follow written procedures created by your organization. The boundary theory  relevant to the changing roles of employees, discussed its difficulties when staff members must move between one role (work-life) and another (e.g., family life). Boundaries regarding leaders and employees are more straightforward and do not require much lament. Also, drawing from the study by Ashforth et al. 2000, the boundary theory shares that people create and sustain limitations between life spheres to simplify their environment.
For essential simplicity and peace of mind, setting boundaries is one of the most imperative aspects of leadership. Never take shortcuts or be derailed from common goals or company expectations. Always be steadfast in this one, but what is considered, a vital part of leadership survival.
Dr. M. Charlotte Oliver
Gardner, D. M., Lauricella, T., Ryan, A. M., Wadlington, P., & Elizondo, F. (2021). Managing boundaries between work and nonwork domains: Personality and job characteristics and adopted style. Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology, 94(1), 132–159. https://doi.org/10.1111/joop.12339
 Kossek, E. E., & Lautsch, B. A. (2012). Work-family boundary management styles in organizations: A cross-level model. Organizational Psychology Review, 2, 152–171. https://doi.org/10.1177/ 2041386611436264
 Ashforth, B. E., Kreiner, G. E., & Fugate, M. (2000). All in a day’s work: Boundaries and micro role transitions. Academy of Management Review, 25, 472–491. https://doi.org/10.5465/AMR. 2000.3363315
When the world is in chaos, and our hearts crave peace, the time comes when the adage “enough is enough” consistently repeats in the mind until the statement meets the decision we place into action. And although there are some second guesses, we move toward them in the context of imminent action anyway. We move toward them because, more than anything, when the world and people around us prepare and deliver chaos, hearts need deliverance and, in all earthly knowledge, our hearts desire peace.
We plunge into the abyss of newness and care, dry off, don a different exterior, and we walk with grace and kindness. The same ideals we longed for in the place we moved from. Now it’s up to us to learn more about who we are and what we will accept as we articulate requirements and aspirations toward a life of care. The ultimate care we give is offered not only to a better us but likewise to better the world itself.
On claiming full citizenship, Peter Block shared this,
“Our workplaces are major testing grounds for the expression of our values because they are not designed to affirm idealism, invite more intimacy or encourage depth. In fact, they are breeding grounds for barter, virtual technology, and speed. If we want a shift from focusing on methodology to focusing on purpose, we will have to bring it to work.” (pg. 83).
Yet, it is impossible to bring such things to work when there may be some in work whose primary focus is to lead and hold on to this leadership as the only way forward. The title itself is the driver. Nothing else! It doesn’t matter who gets hurt in the process. The throne of leadership often rules. In awareness, citizenships are stripped, passing the ports of new ideas, suggestions, and innovation becomes obsolete, based on desired authoritatively led choices. Yet, there’s immense hope in the needed actions to move on. A hope that brings forth envisioned outcomes—the outcomes planned from the beginning.
With this hope of what a new work creation should look like, here are some required points.
– be diligent concerning those let into created workspaces
-in hired staff, consistently analyze perception of company’s missions and visions. Are daily actions aligned with these statements? Are there any vulnerabilities?
-revisit workplace policies often
-when red flags occur, never shove them off. Keep a close watch for those that will mostly like come. Also, watch for intimidating behaviors.
-always protect what matters
Remember, control is our personal control, but first, it is essential to understand and know what is acceptable toward a peaceful work environment. Because peace was intended all along does not mean that everyone adheres. However, as Block suggested, if desired ideals are brought into daily interactions, perhaps the cells of those causing strife may just be awakened. If not, cut losses, rehire or move on, if necessary. Value a good life, not consistent chaos.
Dr. M. Charlotte Oliver
Block, P. (2003). The answer to how is best. Acting on what matters. Berret-Kohler Publishers
One of the most challenging tasks for a leader is working with highly sensitive people. In these instances, it appears that every suggestion made is viewed as criticism. Nothing ever seems to work. Leaders faced with this dilemma often grasp at straws to locate one long straw to help determine a successful day. However, with enthusiasm and optimism, the leader starts over the next day in hopes of better results.
In Finding Nemo, the movie, Dory’s opinion about being in the whale’s mouth is half full of saliva. In contrast, Nemo’s opinion was that it was half empty. Though both are respected perspectives, only Dory’s offers positivity. It is crucial to understand what appears to be the opposite of positivity and reframe these statements to work for everyone involved when managing people.
Martin Seligman, a well-known psychologist, is admired for the term positive psychology; a term first coined by Abraham Maslow, said this “Life inflicts the same setbacks and tragedies on the optimist as on the pessimist, but the optimist weathers them better.”
Individuals’ optimism in the workplace and other areas of life can offer several key benefits. In addition, in his presentation to the American Psychological Association (APA) and in several of his books, optimism can be learned even if one does not hold consistent optimism. Seligman stated that “…the idea in positive psychology implies that optimism can be created in any situation by continuously challenging the negative “self-talk.”
All roads to achievement consist of bums and boulders along the way. One must consistently ask whether crossing the bumps and moving the boulders is possible to succeed. Bumps and boulders in effective positivity are mostly formed in the mind. Through learned optimism, these obstacles can become obsolete.
Lastly, Seligman said, “They [optimists] tend to believe defeat is just a temporary setback, that its causes are confined to this one case. The optimists believe defeat is not their fault: Circumstances, bad luck, or other people brought it about. Such people are unfazed by defeat. Confronted by a bad situation, they perceive it as a challenge and try harder. These two habits of thinking about causes have consequences. Literally hundreds of studies show that pessimists give up more easily and get depressed more often.
To produce optimism in the workplace, leaders must think and behave optimistically in every instance. Leading by example often helps to build trust.
Dr. M. Charlotte Oliver
Seligman, M.E.P (2002). Learned Optimism. How to change your mind and your life. Free Pages
Seligman, M. E.P (2012) Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. Houghton Mifflin
Seligman, M.E.P, Revich, K, Jaycox, L et al., (2007). The optimistic child: A proven program to safeguard children against depression and build life-long resilience. Harper Collins Publishers
Communicating with comfort and confidence is not an easy task. Outside of familiar surroundings it is often arduous for shy, introverted, and people who carry social anxieties. In addition, communicating with someone a person may find attractive can quickly be developed by dread, which often causes internal chaos. But then there’s the expert communicators make communicating look so effortless.
With the rise of many unfortunate confrontations and misunderstandings, today, it’s essential to communicate with care and confidence more so than ever. In this quick blog, oral and some written communication relating to business acumen and methods are briefly discussed. Excellent preparation is needed to be clear about what is or should be conveyed in both types. In most cases, one should even prepare for a brief and important conversation with family members concerning specific matters of importance.
A successful work or consulting presentation should be:
Offered initial discovery
Provided next steps
Effective presentations take a great time to create. However, this time and effort are almost always worth it in most cases. In addition, effective presentations build confidence in the presenter and helps to break down resistance of those presented to. The more presentations, the better the presenter becomes. Practice will almost always guarantee prefect.
Anyone who has resigned or has been fired from a job has probably been through an exit interview. However, with the Great Resignation still in full force, it would be advisable for managers to conduct “stay” interviews, which could possibly help to improve employee retention.
A “Stay” interview is a process designed to check in with staff members to determine how employees currently feel about their jobs. It is also designed to know the needs of a staff member’s and understand motivations and goals within the organization.
According to the Rochester Business Journal, “… a “stay” interview is not about trying to persuade someone in your company to stay. It is a one-on-one conversation with an employee aimed at learning what they need to keep coming back in every day, as well as why they would disengage and leave the company. It allows leaders to develop strategies to prevent turnover, rather than learning from mistakes like what typically occurs during an exit interview.”
More likely conducted each quarter, a stay interview discussion enhances the concept of “helping” managers. Interviews should highlight the employee’s disposition and emphasize areas of contentment and frustration. They should never discuss current tasks or future projects.
Some typical questions are:
Reframing questions to know how the employee views management styles could also be helpful. A few questions to consider:
Responses to the second question may be hard to swallow but are necessary to know. If transparency is essential to the managing staff, they too should be willing to change some aspects of their leadership styles that are just not working to benefit employee engagements.
Committing to employees’ needs helps build a caring culture and adds to positive outcomes. Finnegan (2018) stated that “stay” interviews do three things:
Stay interviews could produce significant changes in an organization. However, managers should approach this valuable effort with open minds and hearts.
Finnegan (2018) also noted that managers should:
“…think about these interviews ahead of time, you might put together a list of available company resources that would help the employee, including opportunities for continuing education, information on professional certifications, mentoring or cross-training opportunities, policies for tuition reimbursement, projects that could help build new skills as well as information on salary increases, overtime, schedule flexibility and more. Leaders can propose development plans, but it is up to employees to implement them and develop their own skills.”
Instead of just having casual conversations with staff members, “stay” interviews provide a structure for managers and employees to remain on similar goals. Attaining specific goals can happen more succinctly when consistent awareness of employees’ needs, and perceptions take precedence.
Dr. M. Charlotte Oliver
Driscoll, K. (2022). ‘Stay interviews’ can improve employee retention, satisfaction. Rochester Business Journal Online.
Finnegan, R.P. (2018) The power of stay interviews for engagement and retention. Society for Human Resource Management.,
A prediction by Anthony Klotz is now a reality for many work environments. In 2019, Klotz, a Mays Business School/Texas A&M professor, predicted the ‘Great Resignation”. To validate his prediction, in August 2021, the U.S. Labor Department produced findings that showed more than 4.3 million Americans just quit their jobs. Some reasons for this attrition could be “… there are thousands of individuals who are simply fed up. They are overworked, they feel underappreciated, because many workers are in high-wage industries and are working incredibly long hours, there is a significant number of people who are just quitting.” (Jay Zagorsky).
The above statement by Zagorsky is on point. Many workers today have begun to understand that ‘livelihood’ should be something different from what some milieus in the workforce have become. However, the boldness of those who seek out another way to be alive in spirit while remaining responsible financially is, yes, surprising. Yet, many still sit behind their cubicles, wondering what it would be like to seek out other avenues of employment.
In this era of fury quitting, some organizations at the brunt of this exodus continue to vent about the people who left them high and dry. Yet, these same organizations are unwilling to reevaluate what needs to change to retain staff members in the future. Today’s way we do work must be created and maintained differently. Some staff members remain grossly unsatisfied, and therefore, just walk away.
If employees desire to grow, develop effective mentorships and programs to assist in these processes. If staff members are concerned with work environments and culture, take the time to understand why and commit to making positive changes. Be humble! For office workers who must stay home to care for children or become the primary caregiver for a family member, propose flextime for these individuals. Some people work better at night, while others are more productive during the day. Take the time to record what works best for everyone faced with specific challenges—some simple suggestions to enhance the challenge of how to keep employees happy.
In these times, leaders must become more trusting, compassionate, and empathetic to the daily conditions of their teams. Studies show that these characteristics can only exist with less advice and more specific questions. Because it is essential to understand what drives staff members and what destroys motivation.
Stanier (2016) suggested that staff members be consistently coached as a development process. His consistent coaching method is to ask seven specific questions. These essential questions are:
Here we see the most critical context in these questions is the need of the staff member, not the need or desire of the leader. The leader is open as she/he listens to responses and builds from the responses, while continuing to hold the employee’s answers in the utmost care.
Today more than ever, how employment is identified and produced is genuinely changing. Of course, daily lived experiences show this is true in every aspect of life. Therefore, to enhance how we work, leaders must be willing to scale up the experience of work itself. Not only could this be satisfying for employees, but this one step has proven to make life so much more pleasant for the employer.
The word livelihood derives from the Middle English -livelod, and the Old English word of līflād, meaning conduct of life. Lively + hood, our spirited cover (or hood, a place of dwelling in Ebonics) should be the end goal. It appears that in some work experiences, the modern incidents of work are far from livelihood’s original meaning. However, with commitment, strategic planning, and implementation, leaders willing to make a difference can return to this word’s authentic understanding. Industrial-Organizational (I-O) psychologists offer well-practiced and effective services to help you do work better. Learn how here.
Do Work well!
Dr. M. Charlotte Oliver
Stanier, M. B. (2016). The coaching habit. Say less, ask more & change the way we lead forever. Box of Crayons Press
Stark, A. (2021). Anthony Klotz on the Great Resignation. Retrieved from https://www.siop.org/Research-Publications/Items-of-Interest/ArtMID/19366/ArticleID/5519/Anthony-Klotz-on-the-Great-Resignation
Zagorsky, J (2021). comments can be found in this article https://boston.cbslocal.com/2021/11/17/great-resignation-workers-quitting/
Often it is complicated to breakthrough leadership narcissism. Many studies have proposed that it is a struggle to adjust or implement any change management approaches when this behavior is present. In motion, signs of moral conflicts, antisocial behaviors, and even psychopathy are common. A research study conducted by Paulus and Williams (2002) discussed these concerns. Paulus and Williams (2002) wrote on Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy often called the Dark Triad of Personality. The study, completed almost 20 years ago, discussed this triad while providing helpful information on personalities still very apparent today in organizations and government leadership.
Machiavellianism is severe manipulation. Narcissism shows up in people who live in a world of grandeur, focusing primarily on what is in it for them. People who are known narcissists also commonly portray dominance, superiority, and entitlement characteristics. Psychopathy may sound a bit outlandish here, but it is common in everyday real-world examples. It shows in “high impulsivity and thrill-seeking along with low empathy and anxiety” (Paulus and Williams, 2002, p. 556). Though quite different from each other, from an I-O psychology footprint, commonalities are found in aloofness, self-promotion, deception, and aggressive behaviors transmitted toward others. Correlations of one personality trait and another can be present in family units that make up leaders of organizations and occasionally those in government, or even both at the same time.
Leaders who portray these comportments are dangerous in their roles to uphold practical leadership responsibilities. It is highly inconceivable that any organization can gain knowledge, offer integrity, and grow organically with such leaders. It is likewise treachery to hear that some leaders are supported because of their policies. In contrast, staff and community members endure hardship from common leadership behaviors such as lack of empathy, entitlement, impulsivity, and dominance. In organizations or government constructs, policies are collaborative and not customarily created by one person. Therefore, sticking with a leader who fits into the Dark Triad based on policies, is preposterous.
A leader who concedes to the concept that a personality change is necessary should agree to be observed on significant personality structures that are currently causing struggles within her or his organization. A trained I-O psychologist measures personality traits by creating questionnaires, surveys, and commonly used measurement scales that are well recognized.
Paulus and Williams’ (2002) study showed that Machiavellians and narcissists might be a more social nuisance than intimidation. However, the date of this study may offer space to revisit these personality traits in the context of leadership today in the age of COVID-19. In addition, in their study, psychopathy was shown to be adaptive in that it can cause more damage based on the self-evaluation of people holding this personality trait and their lack of concern. Again, based on the time of Paulus and Williams’ study, revisiting this trait in the context of leadership may be warranted.
The most challenging area for a Human Resources (HR) department is the conceding of leaders who hold these personalities and therefore, obtaining the approval to conduct such studies within specific organizations and government agencies. Leaders may believe they are being set-up, even though behaviors may have been previously addressed as questionable. They may also be in complete denial based on ego and power. However, with the use of an I-O psychology consultant, determination can be made on clinical and subclinical differences pertaining to suspected behaviors. Nonetheless, with approval, positive changes can most likely come.
Paulus, D.L. & Williams, K.M. (2002). The Dark Triad of personality: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Journal of Research in Personality, 36(6). https://doi.org/10.1016/S0092-6566(02)00505-6
In the last 19 months, leadership trends and concepts have been at the forefront of many organizational discussions. Relating to these discussions, mostly, many organizations are grappling with the challenge of staff shortages, employees who want to continue working remotely, and those who have decided to skip the 9-5 work responsibilities all together, to create their own businesses. Yes, the way we work has significantly changed.
Within this idea of such rapid change and organizational reaction, from an article written in 2017, there are evidence that the leadership trends discussed in this article are highly applicable today.
Goldberg (2017) touched on three specific trends:
In an Industrial-Organizational (I-O) psychology consultancy, these general organizational issues are common. As a remedy, an I-O psychology consultancy engagement may:
These processes represent just a snip of the role of an I-O psychology consultant. The growing change in the needs of organizations on staff engagement, leadership, and organizational culture continue to challenge a significant number of companies, specifically in this time of COVID. Yet, it is still possible to achieve success; however, major attitudinal change is necessary in some cases. Accepting the posture that effective change processes are necessary to adapt to current needs is usually the first step toward effective organizational management. As workplaces continue to endure intense alterations, it would be imperative that leadership and staff engagement policies are tweaked or completely revamped to meet the desires of consistently changing organizational landscapes and customers/clients alike.
Dr. M. Charlotte Oliver
I-O and General Psychology Consultant and Researcher
Goldberg, J. (2017). Trends in leadership and leadership development. Graziadio Business Review, 20(1), 1–6.
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