Learned Optimism or Learned Pessimism? It’s Your Choice!

by David Ryback, Ph.D.

Pessimists may indeed feel more anxious about social acceptance. They may feel more anxious about many things not going well, big and small. Psychologists have a term Learned Optimism or Learned Pessimism?for such individuals when they suffer from this in the extreme – neurotic. We don’t like that term because it connotes something very bad, when all it’s meant to point out is that some people have a greater tendency to become anxious about small things than others. For example, some people tend spend much more time on their work than they need to in order to ease their fear of being fired because they don’t appear “perfect”.

In the workplace, this tendency can come across as undue attention to details that are clearly irrelevant to bottom-line success. Sometimes it comes across as a control issue, particularly when foisted on underlings. For example, if the boss is a stickler for details that don’t matter in most people’s opinions, then it appears much effort is misplaced and subordinates feel frustrated about wasting their energy when more important things are being ignored. Learn More »

Effective Leadership for Technical Professionals

by Ron Shapiro

It’s no secret that good, effective leaders drive forward a successful business. But what makes a good leader? Technical leaders in particular, including as people working in marketing, finance, and sales, have a specific set of needs.

Effective Leadership for Technical ProfessionalsLeadership Needs for the Technical Workplace

Effective leaders should be the driving force behind achieving business goals and objectives, which requires that they meet a number of business needs.

  • Supporting colleagues. This is the first point on the list for a reason. Business leaders are not just there to crack the whip on their team members. Employees and teammates who feel well supported in their work are going to work harder, as long as the leader balances support with the importance of meeting deadlines and accomplishing goals.
  • Autonomy. In business, employees should have some level of freedom and discretion over the work that they do. Tying in with support, the autonomy awarded to colleagues also means high expectations. Employees who have a lot of free reign over their work also have high responsibility, and it is the leader’s job to motivate and check in. Leaders should also be able to reassess what is and is not working when it comes to employee responsibility.
  • Achievement. Ultimately, the greatest needs of businesses are those of actually meeting business objectives and goals.

Common Leadership Pitfalls

When leaders are ineffective, businesses suffer. But just how much? While it may be obvious that productivity decreases, it’s also true that retention falls short, employees are unengaged, their talents go undeveloped, and time is wasted. What makes for some of these pitfalls? Learn More »

3 Steps To Move Forward With Your Project

by Jennifer Bridges, PMP (formerly, Jennifer Whitt)

Today we are going to share three simple steps you can take during project planning to alleviate analysis paralysis and move towards job completion. In essence, during planning we are trying to come up with a course of action to get us from Project Planning in 3 StepsPoint A—defining scope and objectives, to Point B—the end objective of the assignment. The assumption is that the initiating has already started and you are working with an authorized project charter that authorizes you as the PM to even begin working on the planning. A lot of times we get ahead of ourselves and begin planning before authorization. So just to be clear, there should be a charter in place with an approved high-level budget and scope, timeline and resources before you are tasked with planning. Once you are, the following three steps will help you move forward:

  1. Create Project Plan (Mobilize Templates). The project plan boils down all the different areas of work, how it is to be done and who is going to do it. We lay out processes so that the team, stakeholders and change control board know how to deliver the project. Organizations, executives and shareholders of projects are looking for things to be done quickly in a synchronized way, so when we talk about mobilizing it means to get your templates in place hopefully prior to the planning but for sure in planning, to be able to begin working on your project plan. You don’t want to start developing templates from scratch.
  2. Breakdown Deliverables (Socialize Input). The project charter contains some type of scope or objective, so now we break that scope down into deliverables that have to be produced. By socializing between all of our team members we collaborate more effectively to get the input of others on our team. We use that information to determine the dependencies, critical path, issues, risk and resources required for this project. We also create a timeline that shows how long it will take to get the project done. Learn More »

The Thought Awareness Tool

by Don Goewey

Here is something we all need to know: Peace is neurological power; a dynamic state of peace literally builds a powerful brain.  Stress, on the other hand, shrinks and The Thought Awareness Tooldamages higher brain networks, inhibiting our potential to succeed at life.

Peace is clearly an internal matter, and so is stress. Both must begin with your own thoughts, and then extend outward. It is from an anxious, worried mind that a stressful perception of the world arises. Equally, it is from your peace of mind that a stress-free experience of life arises.

Here is  a proven tool that starts the process of building the dynamically peaceful attitude that builds a great brain:

Practice this throughout the day, until your pattern of stress changes:

1. Be aware of stressful, fearful thoughts, anxiety-provoking situations, “offending” personalities or events, or anything else that provokes in you stressful, unkind, hostile, or pessimistic thoughts. Note them all casually, whenever they occur. Notice the way these thoughts morph into negative emotions that produce a perception of threat.

Initially, as you look at a negative thought or feeling, don’t try to change it. Simply observe it. If you criticize, blame, or condemn yourself for thinking and feeling negatively, simply observe this as another negative thought. Learn More »

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