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Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

the-mentor-myth

The Mentor Myth by Debby Carreau pokes a hole in the theory that having a mentor is essential for growing professionally and reaching the top rungs of the corporate ladder. The word “mentor” is an overused term. Instead, Carreau asserts that people are responsible for their own destiny. They are in control, not mentors who barely know them and are taking a passive interest in their careers. While mentors can be useful, there are much more effective approaches to career advancement. Smart professionals lead the way down their own career paths, and they are not afraid to take risks.

Professionals who want to be in full control of their careers and success should keep the following principles in mind:

  • Others are not in control a person’s career destiny. Supervisors, mentors, and coworkers are not responsible for how far another person advances in a career.
  • Mentors can be helpful but are not a career panacea. They are not as valuable to any one person’s career as some business books and career experts would have people believe.
  • Change happens. Planning is an important part of having a successful career, but unexpected events do occur. Smart professionals think strategically about their careers but are also flexible for when such events, such as market declines or industry disruptions, occur.
  • Complacency is a career killer. Many people take too long to make necessary changes in their careers, and they get stuck. Career planning is an ongoing effort and deserves dedicated time.
  • Failure is an opportunity for growth. The fear of failure stymies some professionals from taking risks, but each failure is a learning experience that makes most people stronger.
  • People are personally accountable for their own careers. Professionals who advance are those who always go beyond the bare minimum and do what they say they will do.
  • Hard work is not enough. People who work around the clock with the hope of getting noticed rarely receive the attention they crave. More productive for career growth is working hard and strategically thinking about how to move forward.

 

To learn more, please visit www.bizsum.com

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The End of AbsenceIn an always-on, constantly connected digital environment, the appreciation of solitude is becoming a dying art. Yet some of life’s richest rewards result from periods of solitude — or what author Michael Harris refers to as absence. In The End of Absence, Harris explores the benefits and risks of today’s digital existence. In doing so, he both warns readers of the consequences of the impending end of absence and offers thoughtful insights on how to recapture the solitude that threatens to be lost forever in a digital world.

According to Harris:

  • The digitization of society has created the end of absence. As digital technology becomes ubiquitous, individuals lose the opportunity to enjoy silence and solitude.
  • New technology is always a trade-off. Whenever there is new technology, consideration must always be given to what will be gained and what will be lost.
  • In the digital age, absence must be engineered. Because people (young people in particular) are constantly bombarded by digital input, individuals must plan periods of solitude. Solitude cannot be left to chance.
  • Technology changes the brain. The brain is “plastic” in the sense that its functioning can be altered. Using digital technology has been shown to change neural patterns in the brain.
  • The Internet dilutes expertise. Information- and opinion-sharing technology allows anyone, and thus, no one, to be an expert.
  • Access to everything encourages the exploration of nothing. Because the digital world serves up a constant deluge of increasingly personalized information, individuals have become passive and do not explore new material.
  • Absence is a choice. Controlling the use of digital technology is up to each individual.

To learn more, please visit http://www.bizsum.com

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The Like SwitchIn The Like Switch, former FBI Special Agent Jack Schafer and author Marvin Karlins offer proven techniques for reading people, developing mutually beneficial friendships, and influencing how people are perceived by others. Spanning both verbal and nonverbal communication cues, the authors educate readers on how to improve their likeability through body language and word choice.

 

Schafer and Karlins assert that:

  • There are four main building blocks of friendship that form the basis of the Friendship Formula. This formula states that Friendship = Proximity + Frequency + Duration + Intensity.
  • Friendly people are like fireflies: They capture people’s attention, even from far away. People see others before they hear them speak, so nonverbal signals are crucial in getting others’ attention and forming first impressions.
  • First meetings should adhere to the Golden Rule of Friendship in order to set the right tone for future encounters. This rule states, “If you want people to like you, make them feel good about themselves.”
  • The Laws of Attraction govern the likelihood that two people will be drawn together. Using these laws can help enhance relationships, but some of the laws are not designed to work with certain personality types.
  • Speaking the language of friendship can ensure that friendships are stronger and last longer. The key to speaking this language is encouraging others to speak, listening carefully to what they say, displaying empathy, and responding positively to their comments.
  • Relationships face many kinds of peril in the digital world; however, digital relationships also have some distinct advantages, including ease of finding common ground and the ability to research others to learn about their interests.

To learn more, please visit http://www.bizsum.com

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Resolving ConflictIn Resolving Conflicts at Work, Kenneth Cloke and Joan Goldsmith help readers understand the underlying causes of conflict and how to approach it in new ways. Conflicts at work arise because companies are made up of diverse group of people with different communication styles and differing expectations. Few people have been trained to resolve conflict in a healthy manner, which is why conflict is common in every workplace. Transformation does not occur until people first resolve how they became stuck in conflict and take time to develop new strategies. When an organization operates with a culture where conflicts are avoided, honesty and creativity is lost in the process. People need to take time to look inward and understand what conflict means to them and how their perceptions impact the way they respond to these situations.

According to the authors:

  • All conflict is influenced by an individual’s background and learned responses. When people understand this, they can work to uncover the hidden meanings behind any conflict.
  • When people listen to opponents with an open mind, their opponents will do the same for them.
  • The language used to describe a conflict reflects attitudes and assumptions. It can reveal the interests, emotions, and histories that are behind the surface-level issue.
  • Difficult behaviors are present in every workplace and, in some cases, are inadvertently encouraged through reward systems. When these behaviors are discussed in the open, there is opportunity to improve on all sides and develop perseverance.
  • Resistance is often the result of an underlying need, such as improved communication or greater involvement in decision making. When the reasons for resistance are explored, it becomes easier to collaborate and negotiate for a solution.
  • To prevent the same conflicts in the future, systems can be developed within an organization. This prevents conflicts and sets the standard for how they are to be managed when they do occur.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

 

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94517720In Becoming a Resonant Leader, Annie McKee, Richard Boyatzis, and Frances Johnston describe how the most capable leaders have resonance, the ability to employ emotions effectively to achieve success while remaining attuned to the feelings and perceptions of others. Intellectual and technical knowledge are critical to effective leadership, but leaders’ abilities to manage themselves and connect with others are even more important. This is why emotional intelligence facilities like self-awareness and empathy are so valuable in relating to and communicating with others. The most effective leaders exude optimism and hope—feelings that are easily transmitted to others. Subordinates are quite aware and receptive to these positive sentiments and respond in kind, becoming more energetic and productive in the process.

According to the authors:

  • Resonant leaders have an accurate sense of themselves. This includes clear insights about what they are good at, what is difficult for them, and what they need to learn to achieve their optimum performance.
  • The best leaders possess strong social and emotional intelligence. This means that they are able to manage themselves and connect effectively with others.
  • People are constantly assessing their leaders and trying to understand them. This is why it is important for leaders to be aware of changing emotional realities in their groups and relationships.
  • Good leaders are not necessarily those that appear impervious to stress. Good leaders reevaluate themselves periodically and undergo renewal in order to address their tasks with greater skill and energy.
  • Resonant leadership requires a solid understanding of how social systems and the people who occupy them have to work together to achieve complex objectives.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: Put Emotional Intelligence to WorkLeading with Emotional IntelligenceSocial Intelligence

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93255873Politics exist in organizations of all sizes. This is because people by their very nature are political animals that constantly engage in power-seeking behavior. When not fully understood, the politics at play in professional relationships can prevent a person from achieving success. In The Office Politics Handbook, author and political scientist Jack Godwin, PhD, examines the role power and politics play in all social relationships. Through an exploration of political theory and examples of eight different politically powerful archetypes, Godwin offers readers tools to gain more power in their lives and greater participation in decision making on personal and professional scales.

Despite the fact that politics are an intrinsic part of human nature, most people do not know how to navigate the politics of their personal and professional relationships. It is only when people learn the true nature of interpersonal politics, or “micropolitics,” that they can acquire more power and success in their lives. Godwin offers the following insights on micropolitics:

  • People are political animals, therefore politics exist anywhere people are present. Politics is about power. Politics exist in any social relationship that facilitates the control of one human over another.
  • Politics is a social affair rooted in human nature. Those who master micropolitics, or politics on the most basic and interpersonal level, do so by pushing their sense of objectivity outward into social space, and downward into their primitive human nature.
  • The “political mystique” is composed of the acquisition of power and the distribution of power. To better understand how power is acquisitioned and distributed, it is necessary to break micropolitics into its most basic components: political structures, power instruments, and complex systems.
  • In order for people to master micropolitics, they must first journey inward. For people to be able to gain more power in their personal and professional relationships, they must first get in touch with their inner political animals.
  • By putting forth a political persona, people protect themselves and make better strategic decisions. Political personas are masks, or the strategic way people present themselves to the world that can be used to conceal a person’s vulnerabilities, such as their motives and interests.
  • By mastering the eight “Gods of micropolitics” a person can learn how to win people over in any personal or professional situation. The “Gods of micropolitics” are archetypes that represent the different ways people can use power and protect themselves against an adversary.
  • Everyone must assign themselves their own roles in life. Many people are assigned roles in life that have little significance. People must act on the foundation of freedom that is accessible to all humans to assign their own roles in life and work humbly toward fulfilling this goal.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: The Drama-Free Office, The Blame Game, Outsiders on the Inside

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Flat ArmyStudies show that the majority of workers to be disengaged from their work and their organizations. To truly engage employees, Dan Pontefract believes companies need to adopt a “Flat Army Philosophy.” In his book Flat Army, Pontefract argues that leaders need to surrender command and control in favor of a more open and inclusive style of leadership. When they seek out authentic connections with their teams and come to understand work as an important but not existential endeavor, these leaders become truly connected and therefore profoundly effective. Such connected leaders make ample use of social media and other technologies to deepen connections across their organizations. The result is a self-generating, perpetually learning, dynamically balanced enterprise that is a pleasure both to lead and to work for.

According to Pontefract:

  • Employees are generally disengaged from the work they do and the organizations for which they do it. Work disengagement springs from the traditional hierarchical style of management that views workers as the “brawn” to managements “brains.”
  • The historical roots of employee disengagement stem from the British charter companies of the 16th century, the European armies of the 18th century, and the Scientific Management ideas that shaped American companies in the late 19th century.
  • “Connected leaders” break down traditional hierarchy in favor of a flat organizational structure. They treat employees as complete human beings and connections are encouraged across all levels and work areas.
  • The connected leader trusts their employees, involves and empowers them, empathizes with them, and helps them develop their careers. A key aspect of all of these traits is consistent and open communications with all team members.
  • The traits of the connected leader begin as behaviors that they must practice and exercise daily until they are habit. Eventually, the connected leader moves beyond merely practicing these attributes to truly living them.
  • Participative leadership requires continual, authentic, and reciprocal interactions with team members and the leader’s wider internal and external network. Education is a key component of the Participative Leader Framework and must be practiced consciously and formally.
  • The “Action Model” for the collaborative, or connected-participative, leader begins with connecting to all stakeholders and weighing their input. Next, the model calls for the leader to communicate a plan of action to all stakeholders, and then become immersed in executing that plan. The leader confirms with stakeholders that they are satisfied with the result and then congratulates all involved by focusing on the behaviors they brought to the project to make it successful.
  • To truly benefit from the Flat Army philosophy, one must embrace Web 2.0 technologies for conversation, education, and network presence.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: The Employee Engagement Mindset, The Enemy of Engagement, The Connect Effect

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